Subscribe
"" Email Notifications

Data Release Schedule

News Release

Released: Tuesday, January 24 at 10 a.m.

Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

The Employment Situation in Maine – December 2022

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs decreased by 2,300 to 644,600, following a large upward revision to the November estimate. The number of jobs in December was the second highest on record. Unemployment and labor force participation rates were little changed in the month. Estimates derived from the two monthly workforce surveys have been at odds throughout 2022. An updated article describing the differences in coverage and accuracy of these datasets is here.

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 nonfarm employers by industry on the number of jobs, hours worked, and wages paid to individuals on their payrolls. Both surveys are administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

The 3.8 percent unemployment and 57.9 percent the labor force participation rates were little changed in the month. Unemployment was higher and labor force participation and employment rates were lower than rates that prevailed shortly before the pandemic.

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 for previous months. The 3.7 percent average unemployment rate for October to December was up from 3.1 percent for the three months through September. In that period average labor force participation and employment rates decreased.

Over the Month Change in Labor Force (Seasonally Adjusted)
Metric Nov Dec Change
Labor Force Participation Rate 58.0% 57.9% -0.1%
Employment to Population Ratio 55.9% 55.7% -0.2%
Unemployment Rate 3.7% 3.8% 0.1%
Three-Month Average Labor Force (Seasonally Adjusted)
Metric Jul to Sep Oct to Jan Change
Labor Force Participation Rate 58.6% 58.1% -0.5%
Employment to Population Ratio 56.8% 55.9% -0.9%
Unemployment Rate 3.1% 3.7% 0.6%

The unemployment rate for Maine was above the U.S. 3.5 and New England 3.3 percent rates for December.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs decreased by 2,300 to 646,600 in December from an upwardly revised all-time high in November. Most of the decrease was in leisure and hospitality, though the sector maintained the second highest number of jobs in the 34 months since the onset of the pandemic early in 2020. (November was the highest in that period.)

In the three months through December the number of jobs increased an average of 2,400 per month over the three months through September. The three-month average was 1.2 percentage points higher than the average for calendar year 2019, before the pandemic. Private sector jobs were 1.7 percent higher and government jobs were 1.9 percent lower, mostly in public higher education.

Industry Jobs (in thousands) Change in Jobs
2019 Annual Averages December 2021 November 2022 December 2022 Preliminary Estimates Over the Month Over the Year Previous 3 Months 2019 Average
Net Percent Net Percent Net Percent Net Percent
Total Nonfarm 637.1 627.3 646.9 644.6 -2.3 -0.4% 17.3 2.8% 2.4 0.4% 7.4 1.2%
Total Private 535.9 529.9 547.5 545.9 -1.6 -0.3% 16.0 3.0% 2.7 0.5% 9.4 1.7%
Mining & Logging 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.1 0.0 0.0% 0.0 0.0% 0.0 -0.5% -0.1 -6.1%
Construction 30.1 32.5 31.8 32.2 0.4 1.3% -0.3 -0.9% 0.0 -0.1% 1.9 6.3%
Manufacturing 53.2 54.8 55.6 55.4 -0.2 -0.4% 0.6 1.1% 0.2 0.3% 2.3 4.4%
Wholesale Trade 19.6 19.5 19.2 19.2 0.0 0.0% -0.3 -1.5% 0.1 0.3% -0.4 -2.2%
Retail Trade 80.4 78.9 81.2 81.8 0.6 0.7% 2.9 3.7% 0.6 0.7% 0.9 1.1%
Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities 18.7 18.3 18.5 18.5 0.0 0.0% 0.2 1.1% 0.1 0.6% -0.3 -1.4%
Information 7.2 6.5 7.3 7.1 -0.2 -2.7% 0.6 9.2% 0.0 0.6% 0.0 -0.5%
Financial Activities 33.0 33.2 33.4 33.4 0.0 0.0% 0.2 0.6% 0.3 0.8% 0.3 1.0%
Professional & Business Services 70.0 72.2 76.4 75.5 -0.9 -1.2% 3.3 4.6% 0.1 0.1% 5.9 8.4%
Educational Services 22.5 23.5 23.6 23.8 0.2 0.8% 0.3 1.3% 0.0 0.2% 1.1 4.9%
Healthcare & Social Assistance 106.8 100.6 104.5 104.4 -0.1 -0.1% 3.8 3.8% 0.4 0.4% -2.4 -2.3%
Leisure & Hospitality 70.1 66.0 70.9 69.3 -1.6 -2.3% 3.3 5.0% 0.8 1.3% -0.6 -0.9%
Other Services 22.3 21.8 23.0 23.2 0.2 0.9% 1.4 6.4% 0.1 0.5% 0.7 3.0%
Government 101.2 97.4 99.4 98.7 -0.7 -0.7% 1.3 1.3% -0.3 -0.3% -1.9 -1.9%
Federal Government 16.1 16.4 16.8 16.8 0.0 0.0% 0.4 2.4% 0.0 0.2% 0.7 4.3%
State Government 25.5 23.2 23.1 22.8 -0.3 -1.3% -0.4 -1.7% -0.3 -1.2% -2.5 -9.7%
Local Government 59.6 57.8 59.5 59.1 -0.4 -0.7% 1.3 2.2% -0.1 -0.1% -0.2 -0.3%
Numbers may not add due to rounding. Calculations of change are based on unrounded data.

County and Metro Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

On a not seasonally-adjusted basis the statewide unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. Of the 16 counties, rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than that in nine counties, at least 0.3 points lower than that in three, and close to the average in four. Rates ranged from a low of 2.8 percent in Sagadahoc County to a high of 5.2 percent in Somerset County.

Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland (2.7 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (3.1 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (3.5 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.)

December Labor Force Estimates (not seasonally-adjusted)
County Employed Unemployed Unemployment Rate
2021 2022 2021 2022 2021 2022
Counties
Androscoggin 52,120 51,180 1,910 1,900 3.5% 3.6%
Aroostook 27,070 25,790 1,300 1,280 4.6% 4.7%
Cumberland 156,100 158,280 4,640 4,720 2.9% 2.9%
Franklin 13,230 12,630 560 600 4.0% 4.6%
Hancock 25,270 25,220 1,210 1,100 4.6% 4.2%
Kennebec 58,890 57,710 2,080 2,010 3.4% 3.4%
Knox 18,600 17,820 650 700 3.4% 3.8%
Lincoln 15,400 14,870 580 570 3.6% 3.7%
Oxford 25,050 23,900 1,050 1,030 4.0% 4.1%
Penobscot 72,420 71,940 2,720 2,680 3.6% 3.6%
Piscataquis 6,890 6,660 300 300 4.2% 4.4%
Sagadahoc 18,500 17,960 530 510 2.8% 2.8%
Somerset 20,610 20,050 1,060 1,100 4.9% 5.2%
Waldo 19,060 18,910 750 690 3.8% 3.5%
Washington 12,510 12,290 630 630 4.8% 4.9%
York 107,620 107,370 3,650 3,440 3.3% 3.1%
Metropolitian Areas
Bangor 67,300 67,430 2,320 2,160 3.3% 3.1%
Lewiston-Auburn 52,610 52,120 1,930 1,870 3.5% 3.5%
Portland-S Portland 197,200 199,610 6,050 5,620 3.0% 2.7%
Maine and U.S.
Maine 649,340 643,890 23,590 22,860 3.5% 3.4%
U.S. (in thousands) 155,730 158,870 5,960 5,350 3.7% 3.3%

Statewide and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Hours and Earnings Estimates

The private sector workweek averaged 33.4 hours and earnings averaged $29.81 per hour in December. Hourly earnings increased 5.5 percent from a year earlier, led by a 9.6 percent gain in trade, transportation, and utilities. The workweek was longest in the construction and manufacturing sectors 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.

December Average Hours and Earnings Estimates (not seasonally-adjusted)
Sector/Area Weekly Hours Hourly Earnings
2021 2022 Change 2021 2022 % Change
Sectors Statewide
Total Private 34.3 33.4 -0.9 $28.26 $29.81 5.5%
Construction 39.3 39.8 0.5 $29.75 $30.33 1.9%
Manufacturing 40.4 39.5 -0.9 $25.92 $27.85 7.4%
Trade, Transportation & Utilities 34.2 32.5 -1.7 $23.20 $25.42 9.6%
Professional & Business Services 35.3 33.4 -1.9 $33.39 $34.65 3.8%
Education & Health Services 33.2 33.1 -0.1 $31.50 $33.56 6.5%
Leisure & Hospitality 25.2 25.7 0.5 $20.84 $22.14 6.2%
Metropolitian Areas, Private Sector
Bangor 34.8 33.3 -1.5 $25.43 $28.06 10.3%
Lewiston-Auburn 35.9 34.7 -1.2 $27.13 $28.46 4.9%
Portland-S Portland 34.5 33.1 -1.4 $31.04 $32.37 4.3%
United States 34.8 34.3 -0.5 $31.29 $32.73 4.6%

Due to annual data revisions, release of January 2023 estimates will be delayed until Monday, March 13 at 10 a.m. Revised statewide data for prior years, including 2022 annual averages, will be published Wednesday, March 1. 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 October was between 3.1 and 4.6.
  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.