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Business and Economy

Unemployment At Record Low In Maine, State Facing Labor Shortage

Unemployment in Maine remained at a 60 year low in April at 2.7 percent, the same rate as March.

State Labor Department official Glenn Mills said those are the two lowest monthly unemployment numbers since 1957.

“It's a very tight labor market and conditions are very good,” Mills commented.

The state’s 2.7 percent rate was well below the national unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in April and below Maine’s jobless rate of 3.3 percent in April, 2017.

Cumberland County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state last month with 2.4 percent, and Washington County had the highest jobless figure at 5 percent. Mills called that “very significant,” representing a drop of .8 percent from a year ago. Aroostook County’s unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point in the past year to 4.8 percent in April.

While the latest figures are good news for people looking for work, the state is dealing with a growing labor shortage. There are more baby boomers retiring out of the workforce than there are young people are joining it. Immigration from other states could fill that gap, and Mills says there are some signs that that is happening.

“We have seen a response to our very tight labor market,” Mills said. “There has been some population growth from people moving into the state.”