Maine jobless rate dips again

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The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.2 percent in December, down from 6.4 percent in November and 7.2 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 44,300 were unemployed, down 6,500 over the year.

Maine continues to have a higher share of employed population than the U.S. (61.2 percent here vs. 58.6 percent nationwide). A rising employment to population ratio has been the primary factor in declining unemployment rates in Maine the last three years. This stands in significant contrast to the nation, which has had no improvement in the share of employed population in four years. U.S. unemployment rate declines have been entirely due to lower labor force participation as millions of jobless people have stopped looking for work. (Jobless people not looking for work are not counted as unemployed – they are not in the labor force.) December was the 75th consecutive month the share of employed population exceeded the U.S. average.

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 6.7 percent, down from 7.0 percent in November and 7.9 percent one year ago. The New England estimate was 6.8 percent. Rates for other states were 5.1 percent in New Hampshire, 4.2 percent in Vermont, 7.0 percent in Massachusetts, 9.1 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.4 percent in Connecticut.