The Maine Department of Labor on Friday reported little change in job market conditions in March, with a preliminary 3.3% unemployment rate that differed only slightly from the 3.4% reported in each of the previous five months.

Unemployment averaged 3.3% across New England, and 3.8% nationally in March, the department reported.

Non-farm jobs in Maine last month were the second-highest on record at 656,100, after hitting a record high of 656,400 in February.

The state’s labor force participation rate of 59.3% was unchanged from February to March, while the average of 59.3% for January through March was down slightly from 59.4% for the prior three months.

Unemployment in Maine has been below 4% for 28 months – the second-longest such period – and below the U.S. average for all but two months over more than 16 years. Unemployment remained below the long-term average of 5.5% for the state since January 1976, when the current methodology was adopted.

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