Maine’s unemployment rate fell by .3 percentage points between January and February to reach 3.2 percent.
State labor economist Glenn Mills says 13 of the last 16 months surveyed show an unemployment rate below 4 percent.
“So all the indicators of a fairly tight labor market are there. There are certainly pockets of weakness — in much of Northern Maine, the challenges in the forest economy and the like — but certainly from central Maine south it’s a fairly tight labor market,” he says.
Mills says there’s nothing very surprising in the latest numbers.
“You know the continued improvement after the recession — the recovery is fully played out now. But there’s also the demographic constraints. We have many more people in their 50s and 60s and early 70s aging out of the workforce than we do younger people, so our workforce isn’t growing,” he says.
February’s unemployment rate was half a percentage point lower than the same month a year ago.
The report doesn’t track whether jobs are full or part time or whether people are considered adequately employed.
All counties saw some improvement. Cumberland County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent, with Washington County the highest at 7 percent.
By contrast, the nation’s unemployment rate last month was 4.7 percent.