Employment Situation in Maine - June 2021 Bookmark and Share

July 16, 2021


Employment Situation in Maine - June 2021

AUGUSTA The labor market continued to gradually recover in June:

  • Payroll jobs increased by 3,000, mostly in educational services
  • Labor force participation was unchanged
  • The unemployment rate remained at 4.8 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 3,000 to 614,900 in June and the estimate for May was upwardly revised by 1,300. Most of the June gain was in private and public education.

The number of payroll jobs is up 47,000 from a year-ago. The largest over the year gains were in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing sectors.

In June there remained 25,100 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. In that period Maine had 3.9 percent fewer jobs compared to 4.4 percent fewer nationally. Jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, public and private education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance than before the pandemic.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed was nearly unchanged at 32,500 and the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent for the fifth consecutive month. (The rate for May was revised up one tenth from 4.7 percent.) The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 60.2 percent.

The unemployment rate decreased from 5.3 percent one year ago, but it remained elevated from the 3.1 percent rate of February 2020. The same is true for labor force participation. The share of the population age 16 and over in the labor force increased one percentage point from a year ago, though it remained 2.4 points lower than in February 2020.

The lower rate of participation in the labor force than before the pandemic continued to cause unemployment data to understate the impact of the decrease in the number of jobs. If participation in June was as high as it was 16 months earlier, the number of unemployed would be 26,400 higher and the unemployment rate would be 8.4 percent.

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 5.9 percent and 5.4 percent in June. Rates for other states in the region were 2.9 percent in New Hampshire, 3.1 percent in Vermont, 4.9 percent in Massachusetts, 5.9 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.9 percent in Connecticut.

Substate Not Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for June was unchanged from one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (4.1 percent) and highest in Washington County (6.8 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland metro area (4.6 percent), close to the average in the Bangor metro (5.0 percent), and above the average in the Lewiston-Auburn metro (5.5 percent).

July workforce estimates will be released Friday, August 20 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule) - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html

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


  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted 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 June 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 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for June is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at 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, holidays, 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 reference period. This sometimes exacerbates 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 April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.