AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine labor officials say the state's low unemployment rate held steady in December.

Maine's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in November was unchanged from the previous month, but up from last year at this time.

Maine's jobless rate edged up a tenth of a percentage point in September to 3.3 percent.

Unemployment in Maine rose slightly in July for a third straight month.

The increases have been just .1 percent and still leave the state with a very low 3 percent jobless rate. This marks the 32nd consecutive month that the jobless rate was under 4 percent. That’s the longest such period on record.

The state labor department said Maine added 5,700 non-farm jobs in the past year. 5,400 of those were in the private sector. All told, the state has 628, non-farm payroll jobs with 527,900 in the private sector. Governments employ an estimated 100,600 Mainers.

Maine's unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in June.  That was up from 2.8 percent in May.  But state Labor Department spokeman Glenn Mills says the figure is still down from the 3.5 percent rate in June of 2017.

"Yeah, I've been asked, 'How low can it go?' and, you know, it's really not clear," Mills says. "We've never been in this territory before, so, it's a good question, how low can it go?"

Unemployment in Maine has now been below 4 percent for 31 consecutive months, a record.  In New England, only New Hampshire had a lower jobless rate in June, of 2.8 percent.

There was little change last month in the labor markets of Maine’s largest urban areas.  The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a .1 percent decline in joblessness in each of the three regions:  Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn, and Portland-South Portland.  

The unemployment rate in Bangor now stands at 3 percent, Lewiston-Auburn at 2.8 percent and Portland-South Portland 2.4 percent.  The statewide unemployment rate in April was 3.1 percent.

The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with the latest unemployment data for Maine's three largest urban areas.

The jobless figures for Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn and Portland-South Portland were so low in December there was virtually nowhere for them to go but up – and they did. Bangor from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent in January, Lewiston Auburn from 2.3 percent to 3 percent, and Portland-South Portland from 2 to 2.5 percent.

Those figures, along with state unemployment numbers, continue to point to a very tight labor market.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate fell slightly in January to 3 percent.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate was down from 3.1 percent for December and 3.4 percent a year ago. The department says the state's rate of unemployment has been below 4 percent for 26 consecutive months, which is the longest stretch since the current methodology was put in place in 1976.

Unemployment remains historically low in Maine.

The state Labor Department says the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 3.3 percent, down from 3.5 percent in October and from 3.8 percent a year ago.

Labor Department economist Glenn Mills says the state is about to complete its second consecutive calendar year with unemployment averaging below 4 percent.

“This has only occurred 2 other times on record: in 2000-2001 and then in the late 1950s. So we’re in a really healthy period,” he says.

Unemployment in all three of Maine's metropolitan areas fell one-tenth of a percentage point in October.  

That means unemployment in Bangor is running at 3.1 percent of the workforce, Lewiston-Auburn at 2.9 percent and in Portland-South Portland, just 2.5 percent of people looking for work couldn't find jobs last month.  

The percentages translate to 2,178 people needing jobs in Bangor, 1,596 in Lewiston-Auburn and 5,054 in the Portland-South Portland Metro areas.

The figures were released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Maine’s unemployment rate fell slightly in October, to 3.5 percent. That’s down from 3.7 percent in September and 3.9 percent a year ago, state labor officials say.

Unemployment remains historically low in Maine, with the rate at or below 4 percent for 25 consecutive months, officials say.  During 2017, the number of individuals unemployed in Maine has fallen by 2,200, to 25,000.

Unemployment also remains low in other states throughout the New England region, ranging from a low of 2.7 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 4.5 in Connecticut.

The latest government statistics on unemployment in Maine's urban areas show three very tight labor markets.

In Bangor, joblessness fell from 3.3 percent in August to 3.1 percent in September.

Lewiston-Auburn went from 3.1 percent to 2.9 percent.

Portland-South Portland's jobless rate was steady, but at a very low, 2.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in September for Maine as a whole was 3.7 percent, lower than the national rate of 4.2 percent.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for August was little changed from the 3.7 percent seen in July — and slightly lower than a year ago.

“Unless there’s some kind of a shock to the system, a financial shock or a 9/11 event, I would expect unemployment to remain very low for quite some time,” says state labor economist Glenn Mills.

Mills says Maine’s demographics have a lot to do with the persistent low rate of unemployment.

People filing unemployment claims will now have fewer hours during the day to call and talk to someone about their claim. But they'll still be able to file online or using an automated phone system, at any time.

The Unemployment Claims Center had been open 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. weekdays; now it is only open until 12:30 p.m.

Maine Department of Labor Spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said the change will allow more availiblity in the morning, when the center gets most of its calls. The center will then have more people processing claims in the afternoon.

Maine Among Four States With Record-Low Unemployment Rates

Apr 21, 2017

WASHINGTON - Unemployment rates fell to record lows in four U.S. states last month after months of steady job creation nationwide.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 17 states in March and were mostly unchanged in 33. Employers added a significant number of jobs in just three states last month and cut them in four. Employment was mostly unchanged in the other 43 states. Hiring nationwide was weak in March but strong in the previous two months.