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News Release

Released: Friday, June 17 at 10 a.m.

Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

The Employment Situation in Maine – May 2022


Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs decreased by 2,900 in May and the estimate for April was revised lower. The 3.2 percent unemployment rate was the lowest since before the pandemic. The two surveys provided contrary indications this month, which sometimes happens, even at the national level with much larger survey panels.

Download data as a spreadsheet: Nonfarm Payroll Job Estimates | LAUS Seasonally Adjusted Data


This news release presents estimates derived from two monthly surveys. The Current Population Survey collects information from households on labor force status, including labor force participation, employment, and unemployment. The Current Employment Statistics survey collects information from employers by industry sector on the number of jobs, hours worked, and wages paid to individuals on their payrolls.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

The 3.2 percent unemployment rate was little changed from April’s 3.3 percent and was the lowest in 26 months. The 59.0 percent labor force participation rate and the 57.1 percent employment-to-population ratio were unchanged in the month.

Three-month averages generally provide a better indication of workforce conditions as they smooth some of the variability in sample-based estimates, and they reflect revisions to estimates for previous months. The 3.4 percent average unemployment rate for March to May was 0.7 percentage points lower than in the three months through February. In that period the average labor force participation ticked down and the employment-to-population ratio ticked up.

Over the Month Change in Labor Force (Seasonally Adjusted)
Metric April May Change
Labor Force Participation Rate 59.0% 59.0% 0.0%
Employment to Population Ratio 57.1% 57.1% 0.0%
Unemployment Rate 3.3% 3.2% -0.1%
Three-Month Average Labor Force (Seasonally Adjusted)
Metric Dec 21 to Feb 22 Mar to May Change
Labor Force Participation Rate 59.3% 59.1% -0.2%
Employment to Population Ratio 56.8% 57.1% 0.3%
Unemployment Rate 4.1% 3.4% -0.7%

U.S. and New England unemployment rates for May each were 3.6 percent.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs decreased 2,900 in May to 635,100, after a downward revision of 1,300 jobs for the April estimate. In May jobs decreased in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and financial activities sectors; jobs increased in professional and business services.

In the three-months through May the state gained an average of 2,100 jobs per month over the previous three months through February. Despite a sharp decrease in May, the leisure and hospitality sector had the largest gain in that period, followed by the healthcare and social assistance and the professional and business services sectors.

The three-month average of jobs matched the average for 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Compared to 2019, private sector jobs averaged 0.6 percent higher and government jobs averaged 3.1 percent lower.

Industry Jobs (in thousands) Change in Jobs
2019 Annual Averages May 2021 April 2022 May 2022 Preliminary Estimates Over the Month Over the Year Previous 3 Months 2019 Average
Net Percent Net Percent Net Percent Net Percent
Total Nonfarm 637.4 619.8 638.0 635.1 -2.9 -0.5% 15.3 2.5% 2.1 0.3% 0.1 0.0%
Total Private 536.1 522.2 539.9 537.0 -2.9 -0.5% 14.8 2.8% 2.0 0.4% 3.2 0.6%
Mining & Logging 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0% 0.0 1.1% 0.0 -1.5%
Construction 30.1 31.5 32.0 31.7 -0.3 -0.9% 0.2 0.6% -0.3 -0.8% 1.9 6.3%
Manufacturing 53.3 53.9 55.0 54.3 -0.7 -1.3% 0.4 0.7% 0.0 0.0% 1.6 2.9%
Wholesale Trade 19.6 19.0 19.7 19.4 -0.3 -1.5% 0.4 2.1% 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.2%
Retail Trade 80.4 79.7 80.0 79.7 -0.3 -0.4% 0.0 0.0% 0.2 0.3% -0.1 -0.2%
Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities 18.7 18.2 18.5 18.3 -0.2 -1.1% 0.1 0.5% 0.1 0.4% -0.3 -1.4%
Information 7.2 6.5 6.8 6.9 0.1 1.5% 0.4 6.2% 0.1 1.0% -0.4 -5.1%
Financial Activities 33.0 33.0 33.2 32.6 -0.6 -1.8% -0.4 -1.2% -0.1 -0.2% -0.1 -0.3%
Professional & Business Services 70.0 72.3 73.8 74.4 0.6 0.8% 2.1 2.9% 0.5 0.7% 4.2 6.0%
Educational Services 22.5 21.8 23.5 23.7 0.2 0.9% 1.9 8.7% 0.1 0.5% 1.1 4.9%
Healthcare & Social Assistance 106.8 104.4 102.9 102.7 -0.2 -0.2% -1.7 -1.6% 0.5 0.5% -4.0 -3.8%
Leisure & Hospitality 70.3 58.9 69.2 68.0 -1.2 -1.7% 9.1 15.4% 0.6 0.8% -1.6 -2.3%
Other Services 22.3 20.8 23.1 23.1 0.0 0.0% 2.3 11.1% 0.3 1.1% 0.7 3.1%
Government 101.3 97.6 98.1 98.1 0.0 0.0% 0.5 0.5% 0.1 0.1% -3.1 -3.1%
Federal Government 16.1 16.5 16.5 16.5 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.1% 0.4 2.5%
State Government 25.5 24.0 23.4 23.4 0.0 0.0% -0.6 -2.5% 0.0 0.0% -2.0 -8.0%
Local Government 59.7 57.1 58.2 58.2 0.0 0.0% 1.1 1.9% 0.1 0.1% -1.5 -2.5%
Numbers may not add due to rounding. Calculations of change are based on unrounded data.

County and Metro Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

Among the 16 counties in the state, unemployment rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than the not seasonally-adjusted statewide average of 3.0 percent in six, at least 0.3 points lower in three, and close to the average in seven. Unemployment rates ranged from a low of 2.5 percent in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties to a high of 4.9 percent in Aroostook County.

Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland (2.6 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (2.8 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (3.0 percent).

(For substate areas, labor force estimates, including unemployment rates, are not seasonally adjusted. Because of this, estimates for a certain month should be compared to the same month in other years and should not be compared to other months.)

May Labor Force Estimates (not seasonally-adjusted)
County Employed Unemployed Unemployment Rate
2021 2022 2021 2022 2021 2022
Counties
Androscoggin 50,930 51,390 2,820 1,610 5.2% 3.0%
Aroostook 27,370 26,800 1,940 1,370 6.6% 4.9%
Cumberland 154,130 156,800 7,030 4,050 4.4% 2.5%
Franklin 12,680 12,590 850 550 6.3% 4.2%
Hancock 27,500 27,730 1,410 910 4.9% 3.2%
Kennebec 58,030 58,330 2,740 1,720 4.5% 2.9%
Knox 19,220 19,130 920 590 4.5% 3.0%
Lincoln 16,100 16,070 790 480 4.7% 2.9%
Oxford 24,240 24,340 1,660 900 6.4% 3.6%
Penobscot 70,110 72,030 3,810 2,330 5.1% 3.1%
Piscataquis 7,220 6,950 400 320 5.2% 4.4%
Sagadahoc 18,340 18,490 750 480 3.9% 2.5%
Somerset 21,010 20,950 1,430 920 6.4% 4.2%
Waldo 19,360 19,540 990 630 4.9% 3.1%
Washington 12,890 12,590 960 630 6.9% 4.8%
York 106,110 107,500 5,420 2,950 4.9% 2.7%
Metropolitian Areas
Bangor 64,700 66,770 3,160 1,910 4.7% 2.8%
Lewiston-Auburn 51,420 51,900 2,790 1,600 5.2% 3.0%
Portland-S Portland 194,700 198,330 9,030 5,200 4.4% 2.6%
Maine and U.S.
Maine 645,240 651,230 33,900 20,430 5.0% 3.0%
U.S. (in thousands) 151,780 158,610 8,830 5,550 5.5% 3.4%

Statewide and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Hours and Earnings Estimates

Private sector hours and hourly earnings averaged 34.1 and $28.87 in May. Private sector hourly earnings increased an average of 7.3 percent from a year earlier, led by a 12 percent gain in leisure and hospitality earnings. The work week was longest in manufacturing and shortest in leisure and hospitality. Earnings were highest in professional and business services and lowest in leisure and hospitality.

Hourly earnings were higher than the statewide average in the Portland-S. Portland metro and lower in Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.

May Average Hours and Earnings Estimates (not seasonally-adjusted)
Sector/Area Weekly Hours Hourly Earnings
2021 2022 Change 2021 2022 Change
Sectors Statewide
Total Private 34.4 34.1 -0.3 $26.91 $28.87 7.3%
Construction 39.8 39.0 -0.8 $28.41 $30.00 5.6%
Manufacturing 40.0 40.4 0.4 $25.23 $26.86 6.5%
Trade, Transportation & Utilities 34.7 33.5 -1.2 $22.64 $24.03 6.1%
Professional & Business Services 36.7 36.0 -0.7 $31.49 $32.73 3.9%
Education & Health Services 33.0 33.3 0.3 $30.00 $32.50 8.3%
Leisure & Hospitality 25.8 26.7 0.9 $18.91 $21.19 12.1%
Metropolitian Areas, Private Sector
Bangor 35.0 34.4 -0.6 $24.75 $26.31 6.3%
Lewiston-Auburn 35.0 35.6 0.6 $25.82 $27.36 6.0%
Portland-S Portland 34.3 34.1 -0.2 $29.85 $31.71 6.2%
United States 35.2 34.9 -0.3 $30.52 $32.12 5.2%

June workforce estimates will be released Friday, July 22 at 10 a.m. The data release schedule is here.
Nonfarm jobs data is available here.
Unemployment and labor force data is available here.

Notes:
  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed), as well as nonfarm wage and salary job estimates are inexact. Annual revisions (published in March each year) add accuracy. A comparison of 2020 and 2021 revised and previously published estimates is available in this blog.
  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was between 2.4 and 3.9.
  3. Nonfarm wage and salary jobs from the payroll survey provide a better indication of changes in employment than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger and has smaller margins of error.
  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because of variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness of all employers. Seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the survey reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly changes in jobs estimates. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Jobs estimates for the period from April 2021 to September 2022 will be replaced with payroll data in March 2023. Those benchmark revisions usually show less monthly variability than preliminary estimates do.