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Updated: November 20, 2023

Retail hiring pushes Maine jobs to a record high in October

The number of Maine jobs rose by 1,100 in October to an all-time high of 650,300, with the retail sector accounting for close to half of the increase.

The job count, of nonfarm wage and salary positions, was 8,900 greater than a year ago, the Maine Department of Labor said in its latest monthly report. The average for August to October climbed by 3,700 from the three months through July.

The month-on-month increase follows a larger than unusual upward revision for September.

Maine's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 2.8% in October from 2.7% in September.

Unemployment has been below 4% for 23 consecutive months, the second-longest period of such low rates. The October rate is about half the monthly average since 1976.

Manufacturing wages higher

Hourly earnings averaged $30.48 in October, up 3.7% from a year earlier. The increase was led by an 11.4% jump in manufacturing wages.

The work week averaged 33.6 hours, and was longest in construction and shortest in leisure and hospitality. Earnings were highest in professional and business services and lowest in leisure and hospitality.

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 was lowest in Sagadahoc County (2.2%) and highest in Piscataquis County (3.7%).

The Maine Department of Labor is scheduled to release November unemployment data on Friday, Dec. 22.

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