Maine’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August, but is still well below where it was a year ago and well below the national average.

The state’s preliminary jobless rate is 4.0 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Maine Department of Labor. In July, the rate was 3.9 percent, having inched up from the 2016 low of 3.4 percent in April. Last year, the Maine August unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.

The national unemployment rate for August is 4.9 percent was unchanged from July and down from 5.1 percent one year ago.

The DOL cautioned that the rise in unemployment estimates should not be interpreted as an indication workforce conditions in Maine are deteriorating.

“Other metrics, including payroll jobs, indicate continued improvement and expansion,” said the news release. “As we point out each month …, preliminary estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions.”

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.2 percent. Rates for other states were 3.0 percent in New Hampshire, 3.3 percent in Vermont, 3.9 percent in Massachusetts, 5.6 percent in Rhode Island and 5.6 percent in Connecticut.

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