Maine Unemployment Rate 3.8 Percent in January Bookmark and Share

March 14, 2016

Contact: Glenn Mills, 207-621-5192

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

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for January was down slightly from 4.0 percent in December and down from 4.9 percent one year ago. The unemployment rate was the lowest since 2001. The number of unemployed declined 7,900 over the year to 25,700.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.9 percent was down from 5.7 percent one year ago.

The employment to population ratio estimate for those age 16 and over of 59.3 percent for Maine was close to the U.S. average of 59.6 percent.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent. Rates for other states were 2.9 percent in New Hampshire, 3.4 percent in Vermont, 4.7 percent in Massachusetts, 5.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 5.5 percent in Connecticut.

Labor force and unemployment data is available at .

Payroll Survey Estimates – The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 613,600 for January was up 4,900 from one year ago. The gain was primarily in the construction, professional and business services, education, hospitality, and finance sectors. The estimate of 99,000 government jobs was down 600 from one year ago.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at .

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 4.6 percent for January was down from 5.9 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates were down over the year in all 16 counties, with the largest decline in Hancock County (-2.5 points). Rates ranged from 3.2 percent in Cumberland County to 8.0 percent in Washington County.

The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland (3.4 percent), Lewiston-Auburn (4.0 percent) and Bangor (4.5 percent).

February estimates will be released on Friday, March 25 (Data Release Schedule available at ).

This release is available at .


  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 2017) will moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. In addition, the 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2016 is 0.5 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 2015 to September 2016 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2017. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.