Jobless rate rises in Maine

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff
Posted July 18, 2009, at 2:24 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maine in June was 8.5 percent, up from 8.3 percent in May and 5.2 percent last June, state Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman announced Friday.

Maine’s rate is still lower than that of the nation as a whole, which was 9.5 percent in June, up from 9.4 percent in May and 5.6 percent in June 2008. Additionally, seasonally adjusted nonfarm wage and salary jobs actually increased by 300 from May to June, perhaps a sign of stabilization.

“Although unemployment remains high, the rate of job loss has moderated in recent months,” Fortman said. “It is too early to tell if this is the beginning of a turn in the economy. We will continue monitoring conditions.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Web site, seasonal adjustment uses history of a given area to identify seasonal worker movements and to calculate the size and direction of these movements.

“Maine has some real big seasonal trends that can affect the numbers,” explained Adam Fisher, spokesman for the Maine Department of Labor. “By adjusting those numbers, it allows us to compare to other states on an apples-to-apples basis.”

Overall, the number of nonfarm jobs declined by 19,400 between June 2008 and June 2009. Job losses were registered in natural resources, mining, construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and government sectors. Job gains were re-corded in the education and health care sectors.

Maine’s unemployment rate in June, not seasonally adjusted, was 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent in May and 4.9 percent in June 2008. The unadjusted national rate was 9.7 percent in June, up from 9.1 percent in May and 5.7 percent in June 2008.

County-by-county breakdown, Fisher said, can be done only with unadjusted rates. Piscataquis County remained the highest for unemployment in Maine, at 12.6 percent, followed closely by Washington County, at 12.2 percent. Aroostook, Franklin, Oxford and Somerset counties all posted unemployment rates above 10 percent. The lowest rates were in Cumberland County (6.6 percent) and Lincoln County (6.7 percent).

Other New England states reporting June seasonally adjusted unemployment rates include New Hampshire, 6.8 percent; Massachusetts, 8.6 percent; Rhode Island, 12.4 percent; and Connecticut, 8.1 percent.

Detailed nonfarm jobs data for Maine and the Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn and Portland-Biddeford metropolitan areas, as well as labor force and unemployment data for Maine, 31 labor market areas and 16 counties, are available at www.maine.gov/labor/lmis/data.html.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2009/07/18/news/jobless-rate-rises-in-maine/ printed on October 31, 2014