Unemployment in Maine's three urban areas rose in July.
But the July numbers, released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, may be a more accurate measure of joblessness than the previous figures for June. That is because, says Maine Department of Labor official Glenn Mills, the June jobless rates were artificially low. The federal government judges unemployment based on how many people are working versus how many people are looking for work. Mills says that in June the number of people looking for work was depressed by the pandemic and the state's stay-at-home orders. In July more Mainers resumed looking for work. The figures show the number of people working actually rose in July, but not nearly as much as the number of people out looking for work.
Because of that, the federal, Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment rose in Bangor from 6.1% in June to 8.7% in July. Lewiston-Auburn's jobless rate jumped from 6.8% to 10% and unemployment in Portland-South Portland went from 6.9% in June to 9.8% in July.
Updated 11:54 a.m. Sept. 2, 2020.