May 20, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2022
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
The Employment Situation in Maine - April 2022
Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs were essentially unchanged in April. After an upward revision for March, jobs increased an average of 3,400 in each of the last three months over the prior three. The unemployment rate decreased to 3.3 percent and averaged 3.6 percent in the last three-months. April marks two years since the labor market bottomed early in the coronavirus pandemic. A brief on the labor market recovery is here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/Pandemic_Recovery.pdf
This news release presents estimates derived from two monthly surveys. The Current Population Survey collects information from households on labor force status, including labor force participation, employment, and unemployment. The Current Employment Statistics survey collects information from employers by industry sector on the number of jobs, hours worked, and wages paid to individuals on their payrolls.
Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates
The 3.3 percent unemployment rate and 22,600 unemployed people were down from March and were the lowest in 25 months. The 59.0 percent labor force participation rate and the 57.1 percent employment-to-population ratio were little changed in the month.
Three-month averages generally provide a better indication of workforce conditions as they smooth some of the variability in sample-based estimates, and they reflect revisions to estimates for previous months. The 3.6 percent average unemployment rate for February to April decreased 0.6 percentage points from the three months through January. Average labor force participation and employment-to-population rates were little changed in that period.
U.S. and New England unemployment rates for April were 3.6 and 3.8 percent, respectively.
Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates
Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs were little changed in April, down 200 to 639,300, following an upward revision of 800 for the March estimate. Job gains in leisure and hospitality and in healthcare and social assistance were offset by decreases in retail trade and in professional and business services.
In the three-months through April the state gained an average of 3,400 jobs per month over the previous three months through January, mostly in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and professional and business services. The three-month average of jobs was 0.1 percent higher than the average for 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Private sector jobs were 0.7 percent higher and government jobs were 3.0 percent lower, mostly in public K-12 and higher education. This was the first time in 24 months that the three-month average of jobs was higher than the average for 2019.
County and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates
Among the 16 counties in the state, unemployment rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than the not seasonally-adjusted statewide average of 3.1 percent in seven, at least 0.3 points lower in three, and close to the average in six. Unemployment rates ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in Cumberland County to a high of 5.4 percent in Aroostook County.
Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in the Portland-S. Portland (2.4 percent), and Bangor areas (2.8 percent), and close to the average in the Lewiston-Auburn (2.9 percent) area.
(For substate areas, labor force estimates, including unemployment rates, are not seasonally adjusted. Because of this, estimates for a certain month should be compared to the same month in other years and should not be compared to other months.)
Statewide and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Hours and Earnings Estimates
Private sector hours and hourly earnings averaged 33.9 and $28.64 in April. Private sector hourly earnings increased an average of 7.5 percent from a year earlier, led by a 13 percent gain in leisure and hospitality earnings. The work week was longest in manufacturing and shortest in leisure and hospitality. Earnings were highest in professional and business services and lowest in leisure and hospitality.
Average hourly earnings were higher than the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland, slightly lower than the average in Lewiston-Auburn, and below the average in the Bangor metro.
This news release is available in a more accessible format here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html
May workforce estimates will be released Friday, June 17 at 10 a.m. The data release schedule is here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html
Nonfarm jobs data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces.html
Unemployment and labor force data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus.html
Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed), as well as nonfarm wage and salary job estimates are inexact. Annual revisions (published in March each year) add accuracy. A comparison of 2020 and 2021 revised and previously published estimates is available in this blog - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2022workforcedata_revisions.pdf .
The 90 percent confidence interval for the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was between 2.8 and 4.5.
Nonfarm wage and salary jobs from the payroll survey provide a better indication of changes in employment than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger and has smaller margins of error.
Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because of variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness of all employers. Seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the survey reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly changes in jobs estimates. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Jobs estimates for the period from April 2021 to September 2022 will be replaced with payroll data in March 2023. Those benchmark revisions usually show less monthly variability than preliminary estimates do.