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June 23, 2021

Maine's unemployment rate remains nearly flat for fourth month in a row

Maine’s unemployment rate in May remained low, compared to levels in the early months of the pandemic, and is little changed from the April rate.

The number of unemployed Mainers fell by 1,100 to 31,400, and the unemployment rate was 4.7%, following three consecutive months at 4.8%, the state Department of Labor said in a news release Wednesday.

The number of nonfarm jobs decreased by 600 to 610,600. Decreases in construction and manufacturing jobs were mostly offset by increases in wholesale and retail trade and other sectors.

The nonfarm jobs total represents an increase of 52,800 from May 2020. The largest gains over the year were in the sectors most impacted at the beginning of the pandemic: leisure and hospitality, retail trade, health care and social assistance.

The number of jobs in public and private education was 2,700 lower than in March, but was higher than for any other month since September. The March figure was unusually high, the Labor Department said, because the University of Maine and some private colleges reduced spring break and kept most students on campus.

Since the pandemic began over a year ago, the highest unemployment rate is Maine occurred in April 2020, hitting 9.1%.

The U.S. unemployment rate for May 2021 was 5.8%. Other New England states recorded the following jobless levels: 2.5% in New Hampshire; 2.6%, Vermont; 5.8%, Rhode Island; 6.1%, Massachusetts; and 7.7%, Connecticut.

Within Maine, unemployment rates using non-seasonally adjusted data ranged from 3.7% in Sagadahoc County to 6.6% in Washington County.

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