AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in October, down from 7.6 percent in September and slightly higher than the 7.3 percent posted the same month last year, the Maine Department of Labor reported Tuesday.

Maine had an estimated 52,700 unemployed workers in October, up 1,500 over the year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As for the number of nonfarm payroll jobs in Maine, the bureau’s preliminary estimates place the number at 595,300, little changed from its revised September estimates.

Among Maine’s metro areas, the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (5.5 percent) and close to the average in Bangor (6.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (6.8 percent).

Maine’s October jobless rate is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, which was estimated at 7.9 percent, little changed from 7.8 percent in September and down from 8.9 percent one year ago.

Compared to its fellow New England states, Maine remains in the middle of the pack. New England as a region had an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in October. New Hampshire (5.7 percent), Vermont (5.5 percent) and Massachusetts (6.6 percent) had lower unemployment rates than Maine, while Rhode Island (10.4 percent) and Connecticut (9.0 percent) had higher rates of joblessness.

Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.