March Unemployment Rate 7.6 Percent Bookmark and Share

April 20, 2011

Acting State Labor Commissioner Laura Boyett released March workforce estimates for Maine today.

Seasonally-Adjusted Statewide Data
Household Survey - The preliminary unemployment rate for Maine was 7.6 percent in March, little changed from February and down from 8.3 percent a year ago. The number of unemployed totaled 52,800, down 5,000 from a year ago.

The national unemployment rate was 8.8 percent, little changed from 8.9 percent in February and down from 10.2 percent a year ago. The New England average was 8.1 percent; rates in other states in the region were 5.2 percent in New Hampshire, 5.4 percent in Vermont, 8.0 percent in Massachusetts, 11.0 percent in Rhode Island, and 9.1 percent in Connecticut.

Payroll Survey of Businesses - Estimates of nonfarm payroll jobs for the six months following annually revised data—from October through March—have been volatile, surging through January and plunging since. These estimates, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, do a poor job reflecting monthly employment trends in Maine. According to BLS estimates there were 594,500 nonfarm payroll jobs in March, down 5,100 over the month. We continue to advise users to look at multi-month trends rather than individual months to be informed about the level and rate of change in jobs in Maine. Nationally, nonfarm payroll jobs increased 216,000 in March.

Not Seasonally-Adjusted Substate Data
The not seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in March, down from 9.2 percent a year ago. Not seasonally-adjusted rates ranged from 6.6 percent in Cumberland County to 12.6 percent in Washington County. Over the year unemployment rates decreased in all counties, with the largest decreases in Somerset and York counties.

Among metropolitan areas, unemployment rates were lower than the statewide average in Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (6.8 percent), and Bangor (8.0 percent). Lewiston-Auburn had the same rate as the statewide average (8.5 percent).

Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas, as well as nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas is available at

April data is scheduled for release May 20.