Maine’s Private Sector Employment Reached New High in 2016 Bookmark and Share

March 9, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2017 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor, 207-621-5009

Annual Payroll Jobs Benchmark Reveals Strong Gains Last Two Years.

AUGUSTA—The Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI), part of the Maine Department of Labor, has published its annual benchmark of labor force and employment data in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I am pleased to announce that the state has reached its pre-recessionary levels of private sector employment,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “We must continue the reforms that have put us on a path to prosperity and not make poor policy choices that will drive workers and job creators from our state. Maine must compete with other states and countries for the people, investments, jobs and industries that will increase the earnings of our people and attract new residents to grow our workforce and meet the needs of these employers.”

A blog titled, “2016 Workforce Data Revisions: Stronger Growth Than Previously Thought” (at ), discusses the annual revisions based on more complete data. The revisions indicate the unemployment rate was little changed throughout 2016 and nonfarm payroll job growth was stronger than previously thought.

Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette stated, “Maine’s 2016 gain in payroll jobs—6,700—was higher than original estimates and the largest gain since 2000. These revisions also show a stronger gain in 2015. Maine ended last year only 400 total jobs away from our 2007 pre-recession peak, and our private sector reached a new all-time high of 517,300 jobs.”

“Our goal at the department is to connect people with good jobs, and it appears that this increase is due in part to increased labor force participation,” the Commissioner added. “In our tight labor market, we need everyone who wants to work to contact us so we can make that connection. But we also need to attract new people to live in Maine, and this job growth appears to be helping recruit workers. This is great news for Maine.”

In addition to the revision in payroll jobs and the unemployment rate, the broadest measure of labor underutilization, known as U-6, declined to 8.7 percent in 2016. The U-6 rate includes people who want a job but were not engaged in work search, those working part time who want full-time work and the unemployed. Of the 14 years the U-6 measure has been available, it has only been lower in 2006.

CWRI, part of the Maine Department of Labor, develops and disseminates state and area labor market information to assist officials, employers, educators, trainers and the public in making decisions that promote economic opportunity and efficient use of Maine’s labor resources.