July 20, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2018
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
AUGUSTA - Unemployment rates were the lowest on record for June in five of 16 counties, mostly in northern Maine, and close to the lowest in all other counties.
Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Estimates
Household Survey Estimates - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate of 2.9 percent for June was little changed from 2.8 percent for May and down from 3.5 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 3,900 over the year to 20,400. Maine's unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for 31 consecutive months, the longest period on record.
The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.0 percent for June was up slightly from 3.8 percent for May and down from 4.3 percent one year ago.
The New England average for June was 3.6 percent, with New Hampshire 2.7 percent, Vermont 2.8 percent, Massachusetts 3.5 percent, Rhode Island 4.3 percent, and Connecticut 4.4 percent.
The employment to population ratio estimate of 61.8 percent remained above the 60.4 percent U.S. average.
Payroll Survey Estimates - The 629,800 preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for June was up 6,800 from one year ago. The private sector estimate was up 6,300 to 529,300 and government was little changed at 100,500 jobs.
Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates
The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.2 percent for June was little changed from 3.3 percent one year ago. Unemployment was lowest in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties (2.7 percent) and highest in Aroostook County (4.7 percent). For the month of June, unemployment rates were the lowest on record in Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, Piscataquis, and Washington counties; they were the lowest in 18 to 20 years in the other 11 counties.
Among metro areas, the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland (2.7 percent) and close to the average Lewiston-Auburn (3.2 percent) and Bangor (3.3 percent).
July workforce estimates will be released Friday, August 17 (Data Release Schedule: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).
This release is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .
Labor force and unemployment data is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .
Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .
Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Preliminary labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) 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 (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2017 preliminary and revised unemployment rate estimates is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2017workforcedata_revisions.pdf .
The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2018 is 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.
To assess employment growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. More on the differences in accuracy of the two measures is at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf .
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 2017 to September 2018 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2019. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.