Maine’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3 Percent

May 19, 2017

Maine’s unemployment rate was 3 percent last month, unchanged from March.

State Labor official Glenn Mills says the state’s labor market is pretty tight right now and that’s starting to show up in worker paychecks.

“Since 2014 we’ve had, adjusted for inflation, a pretty high rate of wage growth — faster than we’ve had in a couple of decades,” he says. “We’ve had pretty strong job growth over the last few years. And, we’re now getting to a point where we have a fairly tight labor market throughout much of the state, particularly along the coast and in the southern part of the state.”

Mills says the tight labor market is driving up wages around the state, and it’s bringing more people back into the labor market. But the employment picture remains uneven geographically. Cumberland County’s jobless rate is just 2.4 percent, while Washington county’s rate is 6.4 percent.

In addition, the number of so-called “discouraged workers,” or part-timers looking for full time, is at a historically low level in Maine. Mills says when you take all the factors into account, Maine is pretty much at “full employment” right now.

The unemployment rate in New Hampshire was also unchanged last month at 2.8 percent.