BOSTON - The federal government is reporting that New England's unemployment rate was lower than the national average last year.

The New England office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Monday that the six state region's average rate of 4.1 percent was lower than the national jobless rate of 4.9 percent in 2016. It was also lower than the 4.9 percent the region registered in 2015.

New Hampshire had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.8 percent last year.

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.

PORTLAND, Maine - Unemployment went down in Maine in January.  From 3.8 percent in December, to 3.5 percent in the first month of the new year.

State Labor Department official Glenn Mills says several areas led a gain in job creation.

"Over the year, the strongest job gains were in the health care, hospitality and construction sectors," Mill says. "Manufacturing was relatively flat, which was a good performance given the large loss of paper mill jobs that occurred during the year."

Maine's unemployment rate fell last year, to 3.9 percent from 4.4 percent in 2015.   

That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found that the percentage of Mainers in the workforce climbed from just below 60 percent to just above.

The state's jobless rate for last year was a full percentage point below the national rate and the New England average.

Maine was one of 27 states where unemployment fell last year.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's labor department says the state's unemployment rate fell slightly in December.

The labor department says the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent was a dip from 4 percent in November. The rate was 4.1 percent a year ago.

Maine's unemployment rate was below the national average, which was also down slightly from a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent. It had been 4.6 percent in November and 5 percent a year ago.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's jobless numbers are holding pretty steady.  The state Labor Department says Maine's preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 4 percent, little changed from 4.1 percent in September and 4.2 percent a year ago. 

DOL economist Glenn Mills says, historically, the state has only gone below 4 percent for short periods of time. "Generally when you're down around 4 percent you're talking about a fairly tight labor market and that's especially true in the southern part of the state."

PORTLAND, Maine - There were no big changes in Maine's unemployment rate in August. That's according to new numbers from the Maine Department of Labor.

State labor officials say unemployment rose slightly from July to August, from 3.9 percent to 4.0. That's down from 4.3 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, payroll numbers, which show the number of jobs in a given area, are up from a year ago. 

Hiring sign at Goodwill in Rockland.
Keith Shortall/MPBN

You may have noticed a few more “help wanted” signs in business storefronts in Maine this summer. Some employers are reporting it’s hard to find skilled help, others point to higher paying seasonal jobs, particularly along the coast, that are attracting job-seekers.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's metropolitan areas saw declines in unemployment in June.

Joblessness fell below 4 percent in all three of the state's urban areas: down to 3.8 percent in Bangor, 3.5 percent in Lewiston-Auburn, and 3 percent in Portland-South Portland.

All of those figures were not only below last month's numbers, but were also below the unemployment rates for June of 2015.

Maine's average unemployment rate statewide was 3.7 percent, two-tenths of a percent higher than May's rate.

Maine Unemployment Rate Up in June

Jul 22, 2016

Maine’s unemployment rate has crept upward to 3.7 percent in June. That’s two-tenths of a percent higher than the previous month, but lower than the national average.

Still, some economic analysts say Maine’s job creation effort still has a long way to go.

The news of the slight uptick in unemployment was not a surprise to Mark Sullivan at the progressive Maine Center for Economic Policy, who said Maine was one of only six states where unemployment increased in a month of strong national job growth.

PORTLAND, Maine - Unemployment in Maine's three urban areas was lower in May than it was a year ago.  

Statistics out today from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Greater Portland's jobless rate was 2.8 percent, down just under a percentage point from a year ago.

Lewiston-Auburn was at 3.4 percent last month, also down just under a percentage point compared with the same time last year.

In Bangor, the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, a little over half a percent lower than last May.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent in May. The state's jobless rate last month was 3.5 percent, up slightly from April's 3.4 percent.

But the unemployment rate is still down about a percentage point from where it was a year ago.

A usual, the job market was even tighter in greater Portland, where the unemployment rate was just 2.8 percent. Lewiston-Augurn was at 3.4 percent, the Bangor Metro area has a 3.6 percent unemployment rate.

PORTLAND, Maine - Unemployment fell in all three of Maine's metropolitan areas last month. Figures out today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that joblessness in greater Bangor fell from 4.3 percent in February to 4.1 percent in March.   

In Portland and South Portland, the unemployment rate fell from 3.3 percent in February to 3.1 percent last month.  Lewiston-Auburn saw the biggest decline - from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's unemployment rate continues to decline.  March's rate of 3.4 percent was down from 3.6 percent in February, and the lowest jobless number the state has seen since February of 2001.   A year ago it was 4.6 percent.

Economist Glenn Mills, of the Maine Department of Labor, says the state has seen continued job growth and a tightening labor market, along with a labor force that is not growing. He says Maine's labor force is constrained by the structure of the state's population.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Unemployment in Maine fell slightly in February to 3.6 percent, reaching its lowest point in 15 years.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had been 3.8 percent in January and 4.7 percent a year earlier. The number of unemployed people also fell 8,400 over the year to 24,000.

The nationwide unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. That is unchanged from January and down from 5.5 percent a year ago.