The July unemployment rate in the Portland-South Portland metro area dipped nearly half a percentage point, to 1.9%, the lowest jobless rate in years in any of Maine's three metro areas. That's according to preliminary figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also found low unemployment rates in the state's two other urban areas.
The July unemployment rate in Lewiston-Auburn dropped two-tenths of a percent, to 2.6%, and fell three-tenths of a percent in the Bangor metro area, to 2.5%, according to the Bureau's figures.
The unemployment rates in Portland-South Portland and Bangor have gone down every month since January of this year. And both are now at their lowest levels of unemployment in years. Lewiston-Auburn is not far behind.
Statewide, Maine's unemployment rate has been running below 4% for three-and-a-half years. Some businesses say they're having trouble finding all the workers they need. And officials warn that with baby boomers reaching retirement age, that shortage could persist.
In New Hampshire, the unemployment rate crept higher in all three metro areas, but Manchester, Dover-Durham, and Portsmouth all continue to have jobless rates of between 2% and 2.5%.