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December 21, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2017
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
AUGUSTA – Unemployment remains historically low in Maine.
Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data
Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for November was down slightly from 3.5 percent for October and 3.8 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed was down 3,600 over the year to 23,100. The unemployment rate has been at or below 4.0 percent for 26 consecutive months.
The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for November was unchanged from October and down from 4.6 percent one year ago.
November unemployment rate estimates for New England states will be available at 10 a.m. on Friday, December 22 at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf .
The employment to population ratio estimate of 61.7 percent remained above the U.S. average of 60.1 percent.
Payroll Survey Estimates – The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate was up 2,100 from one year ago to 619,200 for November. The private sector gained 2,500 jobs, with the largest gains in the healthcare and social assistance; professional and business services; and transportation and warehousing sectors. Federal, state, and local governments combined shed 400 jobs.
Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data
The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.0 percent for November was down from 3.4 percent one year ago. Around the state, the lowest rate was 2.4 percent in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties and the highest was 4.6 percent in Washington County.
The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland (2.4 percent) metro area and close to the average in the Lewiston-Auburn (2.7 percent) and Bangor (2.9 percent) metro areas.
December estimates will be released on Tuesday, January 23 (Data Release Schedule: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).
This release is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .
Labor force and unemployment data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .
Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .
Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Preliminary labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2016 preliminary and revised unemployment rate estimates is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2016workforcedata_revisions.pdf .
The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2017 is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.
To assess employment growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. More on the differences in accuracy of the two measures is at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf .
Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters and holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing, which can exacerbate monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from October 2016 to September 2017 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2018. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.