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Updated: April 19, 2024

Maine unemployment little changed at 3.3% in March

Maine’s unemployment rate changed little during March, at 3.3%, a slight downtick from 3.4% for each of the prior five months, according to preliminary data released Friday morning by the Maine Department of Labor.

The department noted that unemployment has been below 4% for 28 straight months, the second-longest streak in Maine history and below the U.S. average for all but two months in the past 16 years. 

Unemployment averaged 3.3% for New England and 3.8% for the United States in March.

The number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs rose to 656,100 in March, down 300 from the February total because of a small upward revision.

March saw the second-largest number of jobs on record. Jobs increased by 9,900 year-over-year, an average of roughly 800 per month. The DOL noted that around 60% of the gain was in the health care and social assistance sectors, after a slower-than-average recovery in them during the first two years of the pandemic.

Across 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 2.5% in Sagadahoc and Cumberland counties to a high of 5.3% in Piscataquis County.

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