The Employment Situation in Maine - July 2022 Bookmark and Share

August 19, 2022


Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

The Employment Situation in Maine - July 2022

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased by 2,800 in July. Jobs were down an average of 1,000 in the last three months over the prior three. The 2.8 percent unemployment rate edged to the lowest since before the pandemic. Unemployment averaged 3.0 percent in the last three months.

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 on the number of jobs, hours worked, and wages paid to individuals on their payrolls.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

The 2.8 percent unemployment rate decreased slightly from June's 3.0 percent and was the lowest in 28 months. The 58.8 percent labor force participation rate edged down and the 57.2 percent employment-to-population ratio was unchanged in the month. Unemployment essentially matched rates immediately preceding the pandemic; labor force participation and employment rates remained below those preceding the pandemic.

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 3.0 percent average unemployment rate for May to July was 0.6 percentage points lower than in the three months through April. In that period average labor force participation ticked down and the employment-to-population ratio ticked up.

U.S. and New England unemployment rates for July each were 3.5 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased 2,800 in July to 635,600, after a small upward revision for the June estimate. The largest gains were in local governments (primarily schools), leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and professional and business services.

In the three months through July, jobs decreased an average of 1,000 per month over the previous three months through April, mostly in leisure and hospitality and in retail trade. The three-month average was 0.4 percentage points lower than the average for 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Private sector jobs were 0.1 percent lower and government jobs were 2.1 percent lower, mostly in public K-12 and higher education.

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 2.7 percent in seven, at least 0.3 points lower in five, and close to the average in four. Unemployment rates ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in Sagadahoc County to a high of 4.0 percent in Washington County.

Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland (2.3 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (2.7 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (2.9 percent).

(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

The private sector workweek averaged 34.3 hours and hourly earnings averaged $28.68 in July. Hourly earnings increased 7.1 percent from a year earlier, led by a 14 percent gain in leisure and hospitality. The workweek was longest in manufacturing and shortest in leisure and hospitality. Earnings were highest in professional and business services and lowest in leisure and hospitality.

Hourly earnings were higher than the statewide average in the Portland-S. Portland metro and lower in Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.

This news release is available in a more accessible format here

August workforce estimates will be released Friday, September 16 at 10 a.m. The data release schedule is here

Nonfarm jobs data is available here

Unemployment and labor force data is available here


  1. 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.
  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was between 2.1 and 3.6.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.