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June 16, 2023

Maine jobless rate holds steady at historic low in May

Maine's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at a historic low of 2.4% in May, unchanged from the previous month.

The rate has been below 4% for 18 straight months, tied for the third -ongest period on record.

Maine's jobless rate is also below 3.7% in the United States and 3.0% for New England.

Total non-farm wage and salary jobs in the Pine Tree State rose by 1,200 in May to 646,000, matching the record high previously reached in December. That number has held steady for seven months. The most notable change in May was an increase in 600 jobs in health care and social assistance, the Maine Department of Labor said in Friday's news release.

Three-month averages generally provide a better indication of workforce conditions, in part because they reflect revisions for previous months. The 2.5% average unemployment rate for March to May is down from 2.9% for the three months through February. The latest three-month period also saw increases in both average labor force participation and employment rates.

Among Maine's three metropolitan areas, May unemployment was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland and close to the average in Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.

Across the state's 16 counties, the jobless rate was lowest in Sagadahoc and York counties and highest in Aroostook County. 

The Maine Department of Labor is scheduled to release June data on July 21. 

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