AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate in May was 6.8 percent, the lowest rate since November 2008, according to preliminary estimates released Friday by the Maine Department of Labor.
May’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.8 percent represented a slight dip from the 6.9 percent posted in April, and a significant decrease from the state’s rate of 7.3 percent in May 2012.
The data, which came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that an estimated 48,200 workers in Maine were unemployed in May, down 3,600 over the year.
Preliminary unemployment rate estimates are notably volatile month to month, however, so the Labor Department usually issues a disclaimer that the rate will likely be modified in the future.
The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.6 percent, little changed from 7.5 percent in April and down from 8.2 percent one year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The New England unemployment rate was 6.9 percent; estimates for other states were 5.3 percent in New Hampshire, 4.1 percent in Vermont, 6.6 percent in Massachusetts, 8.9 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.
The rates that were not seasonally adjusted for Maine counties ranged from 5.5 percent in Cumberland County to 10.1 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties, according to the Labor Department.
The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, at 5.6 percent; Bangor, 6.6 percent; and Lewiston-Auburn, 6.7 percent.