The Employment Situation in Maine - April 2023 Bookmark and Share

May 19, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2022 Contact: Glenn Mills, 207-621-5192

The Employment Situation in Maine - April 2023

Unemployment was the lowest on record and jobs remained close to all-time highs in April. The number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs is little changed over the last six months. The 2.4 percent unemployment rate was the lowest for the series, which dates to 1976

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. Preliminary estimates from the two surveys sometimes diverge in direction or magnitude of change. Annual revisions published each spring tend to bring them in to better alignment.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

The unemployment rate decreased to 2.4 percent for April. This eclipses the 2.6 percent low previously reached in March 2023 and in May and June 2022. The rate has been below four percent for 17 consecutive months, the fourth longest period on record. Labor force participation and employment rates edged up in the month. The employment-to-population ratio increased each of the last four months.

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 2.6 percent average unemployment rate for February to April was down from 3.0 percent for the three months through January. In that period average labor force participation and employment rates increased slightly.

The unemployment rate for Maine was below U.S. and New England 3.4 and 3.3 percent rates for April.

Statewide and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Hours and Earnings Estimates

The private sector workweek averaged 33.6 hours and earnings averaged $30.28 per hour in April. Hourly earnings increased 5.5 percent from a year earlier, led by a 9.0 percent gain in leisure and hospitality. The workweek 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.

This news release is available in a more accessible format -

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased 800 in April to 646,000. The number of jobs has been relatively unchanged for six months. The most notable change in the month was an increase of 600 leisure and hospitality jobs, as the sector bounced back to levels that prevailed around the turn of the year.

In the three months through April the number of jobs decreased an average of 200 per month over the three months through January. The three-month average was 1.4 percentage points higher than the average for calendar year 2019, before the pandemic. Private sector jobs were 1.9 percent higher and government jobs were 1.3 percent lower, mostly in public higher education.

County and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

On a not seasonally-adjusted basis the statewide unemployment rate was 2.3 percent. Of the 16 counties, rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than that in six counties, at least 0.3 points lower than that in four, and close to the average in six. The rate was lowest in Sagadahoc County and highest in Aroostook County.

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

(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 workforce estimates will be released Friday, June 16 at 10 a.m. The data release schedule is available at

Nonfarm jobs data is available at

Unemployment and labor force data is available at


  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 2021 and 2022 revised and previously published estimates is available at .
  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was between 1.7 and 3.2 percent.
  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 variable from month to month because the representativeness of reporting employers can differ. 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 2022 to September 2023 will be replaced with payroll data in March 2024. Those benchmark revisions usually show less monthly variability than preliminary estimates do.