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Updated: May 22, 2023

Hospitality hiring pushes Maine jobless rate to historic low

Chart Mainebiz graphic using Maine Department of Labor data Maine's unemployment rate fell to a new record low in April.

Maine's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.4% in April from 2.6% in March, sinking to its lowest level since the Maine Department of Labor began tracking the number in 1976.

The rate has been below 4% for 17 straight months, the longest period on record, the agency said in its latest monthly barometer. Labor force participation and employment rates both edged up during the month, and the employment-to-population ratio increased each of the last four months.

Maine's unemployment rate was below rates of 3.4% for the United States and 3.3% for the New England region.

Total non-farm wage and salary jobs rose by 800 in April to 646,000, a number that has held relatively steady for the past six months. The most notable change in the month was an increase of 600 leisure and hospitality jobs, as the sector bounced back to levels at the turn of the year, the Maine Department of Labor said.

In the three months through April, the number of jobs decreased by an average of 200 per month over the three-month period through January. Private-sector jobs were 1.9% higher and government jobs were 1.3% lower in February, March and April, mostly in public higher education.

Among Maine's three metropolitan areas, unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland (1.8%) and close to the statewide average in Bangor (2.1%) and Lewiston-Auburn (2.3%).

Across the state's 16 counties, the unemployment rate was lowest in Sagahadoc County (1.8%) and highest in Aroostook County (3.8%).

The Maine Department of Labor is scheduled to release May data on Friday, June 16.

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