Maine’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate fell to what would be a record low of 3 percent for July, another strong indicator of the state’s ongoing labor shortage.

Preliminary unemployment rates often do not hold up when the state Department of Labor revises its numbers in April of the following year based on additional data. Maine had preliminary unemployment rates from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent during a five-month period in 2018 from February through June, but they were later adjusted upward to a range of 3.2 percent – the state’s current lowest revised rate – to 3.4 percent.

All 12 preliminary monthly unemployment rates in Maine for 2018 ultimately were revised upward in April, with the adjustments ranging from 1 percent to 5 percent.

July’s preliminary unemployment rate estimate in Maine was down from 3.2 percent in June and 3.4 percent in July 2018, the Department of Labor said. Maine’s unemployment rate has been below 4 percent for 43 consecutive months, the longest period on record, the department said. The previous record was 22 months, ending in June 2001.

Maine’s preliminary rate in July matched that of New England at 3 percent. Rates for other states in the region were 2.5 percent in New Hampshire, 2.1 percent in Vermont, 2.9 percent in Massachusetts, 3.5 percent in Rhode Island and 3.6 percent in Connecticut.

The estimated number of unemployed job-seekers in Maine was down 2,900 in July from a year earlier to 20,900, it said. The state’s preliminary estimate of 633,500 non-farm payroll jobs in July was up 5,500 from a year earlier.

Maine’s private sector estimate of 533,700 jobs in July was up 5,800 from a year earlier, with the largest job gains in the hospitality and manufacturing sectors, the department said. The government estimate of 99,800 jobs was down 300 from a year earlier.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for July was unchanged from June and down slightly from 3.9 percent in July 2018.


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