PORTLAND, Maine — Hiring kept pace last year in Maine, with employers posting a little more than four openings for every 100 existing jobs, but not all industries were equal in demand or in pay.
An employer survey by the Maine Department of Labor showed health care hiring continued to loom large statewide, also boasting higher-than-average pay.
Perhaps as a sign of a tightening labor market, the survey in its second year, showed slightly higher percentages of jobs requiring lower levels of experience or education.
The survey also compared where hiring demand and wages tend to be highest, based on responses from about 2,100 responses from businesses in September 2015.
By region, the southern coastal counties of York and Cumberland continued to dominate for the share of job vacancies, with almost 44 percent of the state’s openings.
The central and western Maine counties of Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford, Franklin and Somerset represented about 26 percent of openings. Penobscot, Hancock and Piscataquis counties had about 16 percent of those openings.
Social services, health care and construction were among the highest paying and in-demand jobs from employers statewide, but the trends varied by region, with the southern part of the state wielding a big influence.
For example, demand for food preparation jobs in Cumberland and York counties drove up statewide demand, while hiring was more even in other parts of the state.
The survey measures demand for hiring by seeing how a given occupation’s pace of hiring compares to its overall share of the economy.
That is, if an occupation made up 8 percent of all reported vacancies but just 4 percent of employment for the year, it would score as having an above-average hiring demand.
Use the search below to find your region and see how hiring demand compared to average wages for that job in 2015. Average hiring demand = 1.0.
Restaurants in the southern part of the state and major tourist destinations recently told the Bangor Daily News they’ve had difficulty hiring chefs, and construction firms have said better times for the economy have driven up their demand for workers.
And last year’s survey also shows signs that hiring in health care and construction has rippled out to related jobs, with even stronger demand for health care support jobs and demand in transportation and material moving on par with construction hiring.
Overall, the survey showed some other positive signs for job-seekers, with a higher share of advertised jobs offering full-time work. Last year, 73 percent of 22,357 reported openings were full-time, compared with about 62 percent in the Department of Labor’s initial 2014 survey.
Employers also reported fewer of those jobs as difficult to fill, but the number still was more than half of all jobs, at 65 percent. A slightly lower share required a bachelor’s degree, at 7 percent down from 10 in 2014.
The Department of Labor said the survey in its second year gives a “snapshot” of employer demand but “over time, broad trends should emerge.”
The highest average wage was for jobs in management last year, which had hiring demand far below average but only 54 percent of openings were reported as difficult to fill.
That detail makes clear a conclusion perhaps reachable without the data: that management is nice work, if you can get it.