Maine’s unemployment rate continued its decline in January, dropping to an historic 3 percent in a tight local labor market where there are more job openings than qualified people to fill them.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released Monday morning showed Maine is one of six states with a lower jobless rate compared to December, while job numbers were steady in 44 states. The bureau cited Maine as one of four states to have hit a new low for the monthly state unemployment statistics, which began in 1978.

Only 20,995 Mainers were unemployed in January 2018, which is 0.1 percent lower than the 22,048 in December. The total civilian labor force in January was 699,732.

The number of Mainers without jobs is 1.1 percent lower than the national average of 4.1 percent. The rate in Massachusetts was 3.5 percent. In Vermont, it was 2.9 percent, and in New Hampshire, 2.6 percent.

Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.1 percent.

Maine’s jobless rate was 3.2 percent in October 2017 and 3.1 percent in November and December, according to the bureau.

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