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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2019

Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

Maine Unemployment Rate 3.3 Percent in April

AUGUSTA -- The Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released April workforce estimates for Maine.

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Household Survey Estimates

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate of 3.3 percent for April is essentially unchanged for more than two years (3.4 percent for March and 3.3 percent one year ago). The number of unemployed, 23,100, also has been little changed for more than two years. Maine’s unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for 40 consecutive months, the longest period on record.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for April was down from 3.8 for March and 3.9 percent one year ago.

The New England unemployment rate estimate for April was 3.1 percent, with New Hampshire 2.4 percent, Vermont 2.2 percent, Massachusetts 2.9 percent, Rhode Island 3.7 percent, and Connecticut 3.8 percent.

The employment to population ratio estimate of 60.8 percent was close to the 60.6 percent U.S. average

Labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and labor market areas are available here.

Payroll Survey Estimates

The 632,800 preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for April was up 3,100 from one year ago. The private sector estimate was up 2,800 to 532,300, with gains primarily in the retail and manufacturing sectors. The government estimate of 100,500 jobs has essentially been unchanged for nearly six years. During that period, rising numbers of jobs at the federal Portsmouth Naval Shipyard offset declining numbers in state government.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data for the state and three metropolitan areas are available here.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.5 percent for April was unchanged from one year ago. Unemployment was lowest in Cumberland and Sagadahoc County (2.7 percent) and highest in Washington County (6.1 percent).

The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland (2.7 percent), Lewiston-Auburn (3.2 percent) and Bangor (3.4 percent).

May estimates will be published Friday, June 21, 2019. (Data Release Schedule).

Labor force and unemployment data is available here.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here.

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Notes:

1.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 2017 preliminary and revised unemployment rate estimates is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2018_workforce_data_revisions.pdf.

2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2019 is 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month

3.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 .

4. 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 2018 to September 2019 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2020. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates..