November 23, 2013

Maine unemployment rate lowest in five years

The state Labor Department says the rate fell to 6.7 percent in October.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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The non-seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in October, down from 6.6 percent a year ago. The rates ranged from 4.6 percent in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties to 8.4 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower in southern and coastal counties and higher than average in northern counties.

In each of Maine’s three metropolitan areas, the unemployment rate was below the statewide average. In Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, unemployment was 4.8 percent, in Bangor it was 5.5 percent, and in Lewiston-Auburn it was 5.5 percent.

People who are on extended unemployment benefits – about 4,000 in Maine – face the loss of those benefits as of Dec. 28, barring action by Congress to extend them.

The Maine Department of Labor, which administers the state’s unemployment system, has begun warning beneficiaries of the likely termination of the program.

“People need to make financial plans,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a prepared statement. “They might also need to re-evaluate their job search strategy or change their career entirely by enrolling in a training program. ... The Department of Labor has resources to help people find a good job.”

The Maine Job Bank had a record of more than 8,100 job openings on Nov. 14.

Staff Writer J. Craig Anderson contributed to this report.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com

Twitter: @JessicaHallPPH

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