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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2014

Contact: Glenn Mills (207) 621-5192

Maine Unemployment Rate 5.6 Percent in August

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released August workforce estimates for Maine.

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Household Survey Estimates

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in August, little changed from 5.5 percent in July and down from 6.6 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 7,400 over the year to 39,800.

 

The employment to population ratio estimate was 61.1 percent. The recent downward trend in the employment to population ratio appears to be correction toward the longer-term trend following unusually high estimates during the winter; it remained above the U.S. average (59.0 percent) for the 83rd consecutive month1.

 

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 6.1 percent, little changed from 6.2 percent in July and down from 7.2 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate averaged 5.9 percent. Rates for other states were 4.4 percent in New Hampshire, 4.1 percent in Vermont, 5.8 percent in Massachusetts, 7.7 percent in Rhode Island, and 6.6 percent in Connecticut.

Labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and labor market areas is available here.

Payroll Survey Estimates

The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for August of 611,300 is up 8,100 from one year ago. Private sector jobs were up 9,400, primarily in the leisure and hospitality, construction, professional and business services, and education and healthcare sectors. Those gains were partially offset by a decline of 1,300 government jobs. Government accounted for 16.2 percent of nonfarm jobs in July and August, its lowest share in over 30 years2.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data for the state and three metropolitan areas is available here.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in August, down from 5.8 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 4.1 percent in Cumberland County to 7.9 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.

 

Among metro areas the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (4.2 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (5.0 percent) and above the statewide average in Bangor (5.5 percent).

September estimates will be released Tuesday, October 21 (Data Release Schedule).

Notes:

1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including unemployment and employment to population ratios for Maine 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 (to be published in March 2015) will eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of preliminary and annually revised unemployment rates is available at http://cwri.blogspot.com/2014/03/workforce-data-revisions-part-1.html.

2. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month. Estimates for the period from October 2013 to September 2014 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2015. The job count is likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.