Maine’s unemployment rate increased slightly last month to 3.8%, just above the U.S. figure of 3.5%.

The number of jobs in the state remained high, however, with only a slight decrease from the record in November.

The Maine Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the December unemployment rate rose slightly from November’s 3.7%, continuing a trend of higher rates since July, when the jobless rate dipped to a 2022 low of 2.9%.

The department said that the number of non-farm jobs in the state fell slightly to 644,600, down from the record of 646,900 in November. The leisure and hospitality sector posted the biggest decline in jobs, the department said.

The number of jobs in Maine dropped sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, falling from 636,100 in March 2020 to 544,800 the next month, but the jobs market has recovered steadily over the past two years and now is higher than it was before the pandemic hit.

Sagadahoc County had the lowest unemployment rate last month at 2.8%, the department said, and Somerset County had the highest at 5.2%.

Among the state’s metro areas, Portland-South Portland had an unemployment rate of 2.7%, Bangor had a rate of 3.1% and in Lewiston-Auburn, it was 3.5%.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: