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Business and Economy

More Mainers Went Back To Work In June

More Mainers went back to work in June. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the state's unemployment rate fell from 9.3 percent in May to 6.6 percent.

State officials say there were strong job gains last month for hotels and other lodging and leisure businesses, which were hardest hit by the pandemic.

State labor economist Glenn Mills says this has changed the geographic distribution of jobs, leaving southern counties worse off than some northern ones.

"Cumberland County, Androscoggin County, York County are fourth, fifth, sixth highest. That's very unusual. Cumberland and York counties are almost always in the lowest three or four and then some other areas, in the north, Aroostook is one of the lower ones, Washington County is in the middle of the pack, that's unusual."

Mills also says the federal unemployment survey is missing tens of thousands of Mainers who are out of work. He says the state's true unemployment rate is probably around 12 percent, though that is down from an estimated 18 percent last month.