September 16, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2022 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192
The Employment Situation in Maine - August 2022
Nonfarm wage and salary jobs were little changed in August, continuing a relatively stable pattern since May. The 3.1 percent unemployment rate increased from July, remaining close to the 3.0 percent average for 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 3.1 percent unemployment rate increased from 2.8 percent in July. The 58.6 percent labor force participation and the 56.8 percent employment-to-population ratio each edged down in the month. Unemployment was modestly higher and labor force participation and employment rates remained below those that prevailed shortly before 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 for previous months. The 3.0 percent average unemployment rate for June to August was 0.4 percentage points lower than in the three months through May. In that period average labor force participation and employment rates ticked down.
Unemployment in Maine remained below the 3.7 percent U.S. and 3.4 percent New England rates for August.
Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates
Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs were little changed in August, up 100 to 636,200, following a small upward revision to the July estimate. The largest increases in the month were in the retail trade and the leisure and hospitality sectors; the largest decrease was in local government, primarily in education. The number of jobs has been relatively unchanged since May.
In the three months through August the number of jobs averaged 900 fewer per month than in the previous three months through May. 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 0.2 percent lower and government jobs were 1.4 percent lower, mostly in public higher education.
County and Metro Area Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates
On a not seasonally-adjusted basis the statewide unemployment rate was 2.9 percent. Of the 16 counties, rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than that in six counties, at least 0.3 points lower in three, and close to the average in seven. Rates ranged from a low of 2.5 percent in Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and York counties to highs of 4.1 and 4.3 percent in Somerset and Washington counties.
Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland (2.5 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (2.9 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (3.1 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 34.4 hours and earnings averaged $28.71 per hour in August. Hourly earnings increased 6.8 percent from a year earlier, led by a 9.2 percent gain in leisure and hospitality. The workweek was longest in manufacturing and shortest in leisure and hospitality. Earnings were highest in education and health 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 - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html
September workforce estimates will be released Friday, October 21 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 August was between 2.4 and 3.8.
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.