Unemployment in Maine hit its lowest level on record in April while job numbers stayed close to all-time highs, the state Department of Labor reported.

Maine’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.4 percent in April, down from 2.6 percent in March. The latest rate is the lowest in the state Department of Labor’s series of statistics, which dates to 1976.

In April 2020, as the pandemic ravaged the economy, Maine’s unemployment stood at 9.3 percent. The figure has now been below 4 percent for 17 consecutive months, the fourth longest period on record.

Meanwhile, the total number of nonfarm payroll jobs, seasonally adjusted, hit 646,000 in April, up 800 from March, including 600 leisure and hospitality jobs. Maine’s nonfarm payroll jobs had dropped to 544,100 in April 2020.

Nationwide, employers added 253,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate hit 3.4%, matching a 54-year low, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But the figures for February and March were revised downward by 149,000 jobs, a possible sign that the Federal Reserve’s rate policy strategy has started to cool the job market.

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