PORTLAND — Federal data suggests the labor market in Maine’s urban areas is growing tighter.

Maine Public reports preliminary figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show the July unemployment rate in the Portland-South Portland metro area dipped nearly half a percentage point, to 1.9%.

That’s the lowest jobless rate in years in any of Maine’s three metro areas.

The July unemployment rate in Lewiston-Auburn dropped two-tenths of a percent, to 2.6%. The Bangor metro area saw a three-tenths of a percent drop to 2.5%.

Maine’s statewide unemployment rate has been below 4% for over three years.

Some businesses say they’re having trouble finding enough workers. Officials warn the shortage could persist with baby boomers reaching retirement age.

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