AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor says the preliminary jobless rate for January was 7.5 percent, unchanged from the revised figure for December.
Officials say the figure dropped nearly 1 percentage point from a level of 8.4 percent a year ago. The total number of unemployed was 52,300, down 6,300 from a year ago.
The labor department says Maine’s unemployment rate was lower than the national average of 9 percent and the regional average 8.2 percent. New England’s jobless rate ranged from 11.3 percent in Rhode Island to 5.6 percent in New Hampshire.
Report urges Mainers to move to solar
PORTLAND, Maine — An environmental group says off-the-shelf solar hot water technology could save more than 7 million gallons of oil in Maine at a time when oil prices are rising.
Environment Maine released a report Thursday that said installing solar would also have the effect of eliminating the pollution produced by 27,700 cars and trucks. The report was released outside the Portland home of Sen. Justin Alfond, who has a rooftop solar hot water system.
Phil Coupe, owner of ReVision Energy, which installs solar systems, says Maine gets 33 percent more sun than Germany, the world’s leader for solar installations.
Nathaniel Meyer from Environment Maine says the state needs to become more energy efficient and to begin moving to renewable energy sources like solar power.
Sen. Collins: Offshore wind government priority
AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is being told that offshore, deep-water wind technology is a high priority for the federal government.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the comment during a hearing Wednesday before the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in Washington.
Deputy Secretary David Hayes also said the department is committed to helping to find federal funding for the development of a deep-water wind turbine prototype off the coast of Maine.
Collins, a Republican who serves on the committee, supports the federal effort to advance work at the University of Maine to install the first deep-water floating wind turbine prototype off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
According to Collins, Hayes said Maine “is the place to test drive this new technology,” which fits in with the department’s Atlantic strategy.