PORTLAND, Maine — The estimate of unemployment in Maine dropped slightly in April to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent the month before.
April’s decrease in the number of reported Mainers seeking employment was driven by a lower estimate of the total workforce and an increase in the estimate of the total people employed.
The jobless rate estimate for April was down from 5.8 percent one year earlier, representing a decrease of 8,300 people without jobs. It was the lowest rate for the state since July 2007.
But the long-term decline has been driven by a drop in the number of people actively seeking work. The labor force shrank by an estimated 12,000 people since April 2014.
The employment-to-population ratio improved slightly in April, meaning a larger percentage of Maine’s total population had jobs. It was up to 60.2 percent in April, the first increase in nearly a year.
The number of payroll jobs continued to rise in April, up 6,400 from one year ago, to 609,400. The Maine Department of Labor said those estimates tend to fluctuate from month to month, but the long-term trend shows a steady increase in the number of payroll jobs in Maine.
The drop in Maine’s unemployment rate came alongside a drop in the national unemployment rate to 5.4 percent, from 5.5 percent in March. The national rate was 6.2 percent one year ago.
Maine’s preliminary unemployment rate estimate was higher than Vermont (3.6 percent) and New Hampshire (3.8 percent), equal to Massachusetts’ rate for April but lower than the rate in Rhode Island (6.1 percent) and Connecticut (6.3 percent).