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Updated: October 23, 2023

Maine unemployment rate edges up in September

Maine's unemployment rate ticked up to 2.7% in September from 2.5% in August while still hovering near record lows, according to the latest monthly data from the Maine Department of Labor.

The agency noted that the slight increase in the seasonally adjusted rate was a reflection of higher labor force participation and not a result of decreased employment.

The state's jobless rate has been below 4% for 22 consecutive months, the third-longest period of such low rates.

Maine's unemployment rate in September was identical to the rate for New England and significantly less than the nationwide rate of 3.8%.

At 647,500, the number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs in Maine was virtually unchanged from a revised estimate for August. Except for July, jobs estimates have not deviated from the average by more than 0.2% in any month of 2023.

The stability pattern held true for most sectors except for federal government, which added workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, and in leisure and hospitality, which tends to be more variable than other sectors, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

Nonfarm jobs increased by 6,100 in the 12 months through September, with most of the gains occurring in the last months of 2022.

In the three months through September, private sector jobs were 1.8% above the previous three-month total, while government jobs were fewer by 0.3%, mostly in public higher education.

Regional comparisons

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.

Hourly earnings were higher than the statewide average in Portland-South Portland and slightly lower in Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.

Across the state, the unemployment rate was lowest in Sagadahoc County (2.0%) and highest in Piscataquis County (3.7%).

The Maine Department of Labor is scheduled to release October data on Friday, Nov. 17. 

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