Maine’s estimated unemployment stays flat in January at 7.3 percent

Posted March 18, 2013, at 12:23 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s estimated unemployment rate in January was 7.3 percent, little changed from the month before, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

In Maine, 51,700 unemployed people were looking for work in January, 600 fewer than in January 2012, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. The preliminary unemployment rate estimate of 7.3 percent is barely changed from 7.2 percent in December and 7.4 percent in January 2012.

Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates are volatile, and later revised, so the change, up or down, of one-tenth of a percentage point isn’t considered statistically significant.

The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.9 percent, little changed from 7.8 percent in December and down from 8.3 percent one year ago.

The unemployment rate estimate for New England was 7.1 percent, according to the BLS data. Estimated jobless rates for Maine’s neighbors were 5.8 percent in New Hampshire and 4.7 percent in Vermont. Massachusetts had an estimated unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, Connecticut had 8.1 percent and Rhode Island was estimated to have the highest unemployment rate in the country (tied with California) at 9.8 percent.

Because the unemployment rate doesn’t capture people who have given up looking for work, the employment-to-population ratio, which is the share of the population 16 years or older that is employed, offers a more accurate method of comparing workforce conditions, according to the Maine Department of Labor. Maine’s employment-to-population ratio was 60.4 percent, compared with 58.6 percent for the country.

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