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2016 Job Vacancy Survey

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In the fall of 2016, CWRI surveyed private firms to gather information about hiring demand for use by job seekers, employers and policymakers. These data, gleaned directly from Maine employers, provide a unique snapshot of the recent job market: the number and types of jobs available and their characteristics.

The Job Vacancy Survey (JVS) provides a snapshot of employer demand in the reference month of September. The survey methodology is designed to yield estimates of vacancies for sub-state regions.

Series break in 2016. Significant changes in methodology were implemented in 2016. The sample design was simplified, reducing the number of geographical regions from five to three, and stratifying by sixteen industry sectors rather than by eighty-one detailed industry classifications. These changes in survey design make comparisons of 2016 results to the results of prior surveys problematic. Top level statistics show a significant increase in the number of vacancies (30,860 in 2016) and the corresponding statewide vacancy rate (6%) in 2016 compared to 2015 (22,357 and 4%, respectively). It is unclear how much of this increase is attributable to increased employer demand and how much is attributable to a change in survey design. For this reason, we discourage comparison of these results with prior JVS results.


Maine private-sector employers.


Surveyed to discover what jobs were open and actively recruited for in the target month.


Surveys were mailed and responses were accepted by mail, online, by fax, email or telephone. View survey form.


September 2016


To determine directly from employers what positions were in demand.

The Sample was Designed to Ensure Broad Coverage of Maine Businesses and Regions

Region County    
Coastal Counties Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, York
Central/Western Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford,Somerset
Northeastern Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Washington, Aroostook
  • Employers fall into three sizes classes, each representing about one-third of Maine jobs.
  • "Industry" describes the economic activity of employers. Survey responses are grouped according to industry sector: broad categories of firms engaged in diverse but related activities.

1,850 Employers Returned Surveys

The 2016 JVS had a response rate of 58 percent. Forty percent of these indicated one or more job vacancy.

Bar graph with three bars. Bar one 3,200 surveys mailed, bar two 1,850 surveys returned, and bar three 745 employers with one or more vacancies.

30,860 Job Vacancies in September 2016

In sum, 30,860 job vacancies represents a statewide job vacancy rate of 6.2 percent, or 6 job openings per 100 jobs.

Category Summary
Share of Total Vacancies
Total Estimated Vacancies Vacancies 30,860 100%
Full-time positions 19,828 64%
Seasonal or temporary 3,709 12%
Difficult to fill* 21,841 75%*
Length of Time Job Has Been Open under 30 days 7,928 26%
30 to 59 days 7,341 24%
60 or more days 7,697 25%
Always open 7,236 23%
[Unspecified] 415 1%
Education Level Required No level required 8,879 29%
High school diploma or equivalent 12,078 39%
Post-secondary training 2,326 8%
Associate degree 1,314 4%
Bachelor degree 1,238 4%
Graduate degree 381 1%
Industry Credential 523 2%
Other specified 34 0%
[Unspecified] 2,618 8%
Previous Experience Required No experience required 15,234 49%
Less than one year 4,360 14%
1 to 5 years 6,425 21%
More than 5 years 824 3%
[Unspecified] 2,619 8%
*Percentage difficult-to-fill is share who responded “yes” divided by all those who responded “yes” or “no”.

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About Vacancies by Industry Vacancies by Occupation Vacancies by Region Evaluating Relative Demand

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