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Business and Economy

Maine Unemployment Rate Up Slightly in July

AUGUSTA, Maine - State labor officials say Maine job numbers out this week are something of a mixed bag.

Unemployment rose slightly from June to July, to 3.9 percent.  But Department of Labor Economist Glenn Mills says that's not really a reason to worry.

Mills says more reliable numbers, like the much-larger payroll survey, show that the number of jobs in the state is increasing, especially in a few sectors:  "Health care, education, retail trade, finance and professional services."

The non-farm payroll jobs estimate for July showed 5,900 more jobs than a year ago - it's now at 618,000. Unlike jobs in the private sector, government jobs were down.

Meanwhile, Mills says the unemployment rate for Maine was a little better than the average for New England; but, he says, "We're not growing quite as fast as Massachusetts or some other states, necessarily."

Mills says that has a great deal to do with the demographic differences among the New England states.