Maine’s jobless rate dips to 5.5 percent, mirrors national and regional trends

Posted July 18, 2014, at 11:03 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate dropped from May to June, in line with declines nationally and across New England. It is the lowest state rate since August 2008.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated Maine’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in June, down from 5.7 percent in May and 6.7 percent one year ago, when an estimated 8,200 more people were unemployed. In June 2007, before the recession, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in Maine and 4.6 percent nationally.

The jobless rates across the nation and region also dropped in June. Nationally, the rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May. Across the New England states, the average unemployment rate for June was 5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent in May.

Maine was one of 22 states where the unemployment rate dropped in June and one of 33 where payroll jobs increased.

For June, the estimate of nonfarm payroll jobs in Maine jumped to 611,400, up 8,000 from one year ago. The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information reported that net increase was driven entirely by job gains in the private sector, offsetting a drop of 800 government jobs for the year.

Maine’s unemployment rate for June was on par with Massachusetts’, lower than Rhode Island’s (7.9 percent) and Connecticut’s (6.7 percent) and higher than New Hampshire’s (4.4 percent) and Vermont’s (3.5 percent).