September 18, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2015 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released August workforce estimates for Maine.
Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.5 percent for August was little changed from 4.6 percent in July and down from 5.6 percent one year ago. The unemployment rate estimate was the lowest since April 2007. The number of unemployed declined 8,200 over the year to 31,100.
The employment to population ratio estimate of 60.2 percent remained above the U.S. average (59.4 percent) for the 95th consecutive month.
The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was down slightly from 5.3 percent in July and down from 6.1 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent. Rates for other states were 3.6 percent in New Hampshire, 3.6 percent in Vermont, 4.7 percent in Massachusetts, 5.6 percent in Rhode Island, and 5.3 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 July of 611,800 was up 6,500 from one year ago. The estimate for private sector jobs was up 6,800 and government was down 300. The largest job gains were in the professional and business services, healthcare, and retail trade sectors.
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 estimate of 3.6 percent in August was down from 4.8 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates were down in all 16 counties, with the largest decline in Washington County (-1.8 points). Rates ranged from 2.9 percent in Cumberland and Knox counties to 5.3 percent in Somerset County.
Among metro areas the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland (3.0 percent) and close to the statewide average in Lewiston-Auburn (3.6 percent) and Bangor (3.8 percent).
This release is available at: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html
September workforce estimates will be released Tuesday, October 20 (Data Release Schedule: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html).
Preliminary labor force estimates for Maine, including unemployment and employment to population ratios, 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 2016) will moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. In addition, the 90 percent confidence interval for the statewide unemployment rate is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate.
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 2014 to September 2015 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2016. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.