April 18, 2014
State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released March workforce estimates for Maine.
Workforce conditions continue to improve. Payroll job growth of 8,000 over the year drove the unemployment rate to the lowest since September 2008 and the employment to population ratio to highest since November 2008. Job growth was spread across a number of sectors.
Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data
Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in March, down from 6.1 percent in February and 6.8 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 6,700 over the year to 41,800.
The share of the population that is employed reached 61.8 percent, well above the U.S. average of 58.9 percent. March was the 78th consecutive month the employment to population ratio was above the national average.
The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 6.7 percent, unchanged from February and down from 7.6 percent one year ago. The New England estimate was 6.3 percent. Rates for other states were 4.5 percent in New Hampshire, 3.4 percent in Vermont, 6.3 percent in Massachusetts, 8.7 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.0 percent in Connecticut.
Labor force and unemployment data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .
Payroll Survey Estimates – The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for March of 607,100 is up 8,000 from one year ago. Private sector jobs were up 9,100, primarily in the professional and business services, retail trade, leisure and hospitality, education and healthcare, and financial activities sectors. Those gains were partially offset by a decline of 1,100 jobs in government.
Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .
Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data
The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March, down from 7.5 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 5.0 percent in Cumberland County to 11.1 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.
The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metropolitan areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (5.2 percent), Bangor (6.1 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (6.0 percent).
This release is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html . Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas; nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas and much more is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html .
April estimates will be released Friday, May 16 (Data Release Schedule available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).
Preliminary unemployment estimates for Maine 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 (to be published in March 2015) will eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of preliminary and annually revised unemployment rates is available at http://cwri.blogspot.com/2014/03/workforce-data-revisions-part-1.html .
Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month. Estimates for the period from October 2013 to September 2014 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2015. The job count is likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.