January 23, 2020
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Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn set records for lowest unemployment rates in June

Keith Srakocic | AP
Keith Srakocic | AP
In this Thursday, March 7, 2019, photo visitors to the Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Government figures released on July 19 show Maine extended its record for unemployment below 4 percent to 42 months.

Maine set another record for low unemployment in June, when the preliminary seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 3.2 percent compared to 3.3 percent in May.

Both Bangor and the Lewiston-Auburn area set new lows for June, according to workforce estimates released Friday by the Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate has changed little during the past two years, varying between 3.2 percent and 3.5 percent.

The non-seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 2.8 percent for June was down from 3.3 percent one year ago.

Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn unemployment rates were the lowest on record for June. The unemployment rate was the same as the statewide average of 2.8 percent in both metropolitan districts.

The rate in Portland-South Portland was below the state average at 2.3 percent.

By county, Washington and Aroostook counties both had non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates that topped 4 percent in 2018 and 2019, Sagadahoc had the lowest rate of 2.1 percent in 2019 among Maine counties, down from 2.8 percent in 2018.

Cumberland’s rate was the second-lowest at 2.3 percent in 2019, down from 2.8 percent in 2018. Penobscot sat in the middle of the pack with 3.1 percent non-seasonally adjusted unemployment in 2019, down from 3.7 percent in 2018.

For the month of June, unemployment rates were the lowest on record in 11 counties: Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo and Washington.

The number of unemployed people in the state was down 1,500 from one year ago to 22,000. Maine’s unemployment rate has been below 4 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest period on record. The previous record was the 22 months that ended in June 2001.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of 634,300 nonfarm payroll jobs in June was up 4,600 from one year ago. The private sector estimate of 533,300 jobs was up 4,000 over the year, with gains primarily in the manufacturing, finance and insurance, and hospitality sectors.

The estimate of 101,000 government jobs was up 600 from one year ago, mostly at the federal Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

A late end to the school year in some towns contributed to a higher-than-usual number of local government jobs for June.

Nationwide, the U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for June was little changed from 3.6 percent for May. However, it was down from 4 percent one year ago.

The New England estimate was 3.1 percent. By state, the June rates were 2.5 percent in New Hampshire, 2.1 percent in Vermont, 3 percent in Massachusetts, 3.6 percent in Rhode Island, and 3.7 percent in Connecticut.

July workforce estimates are due to be published on Friday, Aug. 16.


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