The Employment Situation in Maine - November 2022 Bookmark and Share

December 16, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2022

Contact: Glenn Mills, 207-621-5192

The Employment Situation in Maine - November 2022

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased by 3,000 to 645,100, the highest level on record; the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.7 percent; and labor force participation decreased to 58 percent, the lowest on record. Estimates derived from the two monthly workforce surveys have been at odds throughout 2022 in November more than ever before. An article describing the differences in coverage and accuracy of these datasets is here .

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 nonfarm employers by industry on the number of jobs, hours worked, and wages paid to individuals on their payrolls. Both surveys are controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Estimates

The 3.7 percent unemployment rate was little changed from 3.6 percent and labor force participation and employment rates decreased to 58.0 and 55.9 percent in the month. Unemployment was higher and labor force participation and employment rates were lower than rates 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 3.5 percent average unemployment rate for August to November was up from 3.0 percent for the three months through July. In that period average labor force participation and employment rates decreased.

The unemployment rate for Maine was close to the U.S. 3.7 and New England 3.4 percent rates for November.

Statewide Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs Estimates

Total nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased by 3,000 in November to an all-time high of 645,100. The largest increases in the month were in the professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare and social assistance sectors.

In the three months through November the number of jobs increased an average of 2,200 per month over the previous three months through August. The three-month average was 0.8 percentage points higher than the average for calendar year 2019, before the pandemic. Private sector jobs were 1.2 percent higher and government jobs were 1.6 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 3.5 percent. Of the 16 counties, rates were at least 0.3 percentage points higher than that in eight counties, at least 0.3 points lower than that in three, and close to the average in five. Rates ranged from a low of 2.8 percent in Sagadahoc County to a high of 5.2 percent in Somerset County.

Among the three metro areas of the state, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-S. Portland (2.9 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (3.2 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (3.6 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 34.0 hours and earnings averaged $29.52 per hour in November. Hourly earnings increased 5.4 percent from a year earlier, led by a 10.1 percent gain in trade, transportation, and utilities. The workweek was longest in the construction and manufacturing sectors 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.


  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 November was between 3.0 and 4.4.

  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.