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Updated: May 20, 2024

Maine jobless rate slips to 3.1% in April

BIW Careers outdoor booth Photo / Renee Cordes Bath Iron Works, one of Maine's largest private employers, is constantly recruiting.

Maine's unemployment rate edged down to 3.1% in April from 3.3% in March, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Maine Department of Labor. 

The state's unemployment rate has been below 4% for 29 months, the second such longest period on record. April's jobless rate was below the 3.3% average across the six New England states and 3.9% for the U.S. as a whole.

Maine non-farm wage and salary jobs were little changed at 656,200, up by only 500 after a small downward revision for March.

The number of jobs is essentially unchanged so far in 2024, according to the Labor Department. Jobs are 11,100 higher over a year ago, with health care and social services accounting for more than half of the gain following a slower-than-average recovery in that sector in the first two years after the start of the pandemic.

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

Across the state, the unemployment rate ranged from a low of 2.1% in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties to a high of 5% in Piscataquis County.

The private sector work week averaged 32.9 hours in April, down from 33.6 hours a year ago, and earnings averaged $31.49 per hour, up from $30.26 a year ago.

The work week was longest in construction and shortest in leisure and hospitality, while earnings were highest in professional and business services and lowest in leisure and hospitality.

The Maine Department of Labor is scheduled to release May data on Tuesday, June 25. 

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