Despite the massive unemployment insurance claims announced Thursday, Maine’s jobless rate in February continued a record run of 50 consecutive months below 4 percent.
The preliminary seasonally adjusted rate in February was 3.2 percent, little changed from the 3.1 percent in January, according to the Maine Department of Labor, which released the data on Friday.
The number of people unemployed was down 200 to 22,000 from last February to this February.
The numbers, culled before the record job losses from efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 began in mid-March, stand in stark contrast to yesterday’s unemployment claims data.
Unemployed workers in the state submitted 21,459 new claims for the week from March 15 to 21, up 34-fold from the previous week’s 634. It’s also quadruple the state’s previous record of 5,634 new weekly claims set during the Great Recession in 2009.
Nationally, unemployed workers submitted close to 3.3 million new insurance claims.
Nationally, the preliminary unemployment rate was 3.5 percent for February, little changed from the 3.6 percent in January and down from 3.8 percent one year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The February estimate for New England is little changed at 3 percent.
March estimates will be published on April 17.