September 20, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2019
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
Maine Unemployment Rate 2.9 Percent in August
AUGUSTA -- The Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released August workforce estimates for Maine.
Seasonally Adjusted Estimates
Maine Household Survey Estimates - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate of 2.9 percent for August is little changed from 3.0 percent for July and down from 3.5 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed is down 4,000 from one year ago to 20,100. Maine's unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for 44 consecutive months, doubling the previous record of 22 months from September 1999 to July 2001.
Maine Payroll Survey Estimates The preliminary estimate of 634,500 nonfarm payroll jobs in August is up 6,800 from one year ago. The private sector estimate of 534,500 jobs is up 6,800 over the year, with the largest job gains in the leisure and hospitality sector. The government estimate of 100,000 jobs is unchanged from one year ago.
National and Regional Household Survey Estimates The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for August is unchanged from July and little changed from 3.8 percent one year ago. The August estimate for New England is 3.0 percent. Rates for other states in the region are 2.5 percent in New Hampshire, 2.1 percent in Vermont, 2.9 percent in Massachusetts, 3.6 percent in Rhode Island, and 3.6 percent in Connecticut.
The employment to population ratio estimate for Maine of 60.6 percent is close to the 60.9 percent U.S. average.
Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates
The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 2.1 percent for August is down from 2.8 percent one year ago. Unemployment estimates are lowest for Sagadahoc County (1.5 percent) and highest for Aroostook, Franklin, Somerset and Washington counties (3.0 percent).
Unemployment rates are the lowest on record for August in all 16 counties (the rate in Lincoln County matched the previous low from 1999). They are also the lowest on record in each of the metropolitan areas: 1.7 percent in Portland-South Portland, 2.1 percent in Bangor, and 2.3 percent in Lewiston-Auburn.
September estimates will be published Friday, October 18, 2019 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule).
This release is available here.
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.
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 April each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2018 preliminary and revised unemployment rate estimates is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2018workforcedata_revisions.pdf.
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.
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.
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.
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