Maine Unemployment Rate 4.3 Percent in October Bookmark and Share

November 20, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2015 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released October workforce estimates for Maine.

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.3 percent for October was little changed from 4.4 percent in September and down from 5.6 percent one year ago. The unemployment rate was the lowest since 2002. The number of unemployed declined 9,600 over the year to 29,100.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 5.0 percent was little changed from 5.1 percent in September and down from 5.7 percent one year ago.

The estimate of the employment to population ratio (age 16 and over) in Maine of 59.6 percent was the lowest in four years. In the years ahead, the share of employed population is likely to gradually trend lower as large numbers of baby boomers retire. The U.S. average was 59.3 percent.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent. Rates for other states were 3.3 percent in New Hampshire, 3.7 percent in Vermont, 4.6 percent in Massachusetts, 5.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 5.1 percent in Connecticut.

Labor force and unemployment data is available here.

Payroll Survey Estimates – The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 611,300 for October was up 5,500 from one year ago. The gain was entirely in the private sector, primarily in the professional and business services, hospitality, and healthcare sectors. The estimate for government was unchanged from one year ago.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.6 percent in October was down from 4.9 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates were down over the year in all 16 counties, with the largest decline in Franklin County (-1.8 points). Rates ranged from 2.8 percent in Sagadahoc County to 5.4 percent in Somerset County.

The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland metro (2.9 percent) and close to the average in Lewiston-Auburn (3.5 percent) and Bangor (3.5 percent).

This release is available here.

November workforce estimates will be released Friday, December 18 (Data Release Schedule).


  1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including unemployment and employment to population ratios 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 2016) will moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. In addition, the 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2015 has been 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.

  2. 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.