PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate remained at 3.4 percent as the estimate of people looking for work and those with jobs ticked up for the month of April.

The rate of 3.4 percent for April was down from 4.5 percent one year ago. The national unemployment rate was also flat at 5 percent.

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Over the year, the drop in Maine’s jobless rate is due mostly to an estimated decline in the number of people looking for work.

The preliminary estimates show the state’s workforce shrank by about 7,500 people from one year ago, while about 600 more people were employed. The unemployment rate reflects the share of those job seekers who can’t find work.

Maine’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average of 4.4 percent, coming in higher than New Hampshire (2.6 percent) and Vermont (3.2 percent) and lower than Massachusetts (4.2 percent), Rhode Island (5.3 percent) and Connecticut (5.7 percent).

A separate survey of nonfarm payroll jobs was also up for the year, with an estimated 2,900 more jobs than one year ago. Meanwhile, government jobs continued to drop to the lowest level since 1999, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.