HARTFORD, Conn. — The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the labor force shrank in Maine and three other New England states last year.

The agency announced Wednesday that five years after the end of the worst recession in decades, the labor force contracted in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It grew in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Overall, the civilian labor force grew slightly, to 155.9 million from 155.4 million.

Massachusetts’ labor force of 3.6 million was the largest in New England last year and Vermont’s labor force of 349,000 was the smallest.

The highest unemployment rate in the region last year was in Rhode Island, at 7.7 percent, down from 9.3 percent in 2013. Unemployment was lowest in Vermont, at 4.1 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent last year.