Unemployment Rate in Maine

The unadjusted unemployment rate in Maine was 8.5% in February 2011, up from 8.4% in January 2011, and down from 9.6% one year ago in February 2010. Hanging just above the national average, the Maine unemployment rate is about 8.1% and higher in some cities.

As per the BLS current population survey (CPS), the unemployment rate for Maine in February 2011 was 7.5%. This was 1.4 percentage points lower than the national rate for the month. The unemployment rate in Maine peaked in June 2009 at 8.4% and is now 0.9 percentage points lower. From a post peak low of 7.5% in November 2010, the unemployment rate has now grown by 0.0 percentage points. Over the year the rates have declined in five Counties and risen in nine, with two remaining unchanged. The biggest declines were by and large in the western region, chiefly Oxford and Franklin Counties, and the major increases were usually along the coast, chiefly York and Hancock Counties.

The number of people unemployed in Maine peaked in January 2010 at 58,634. There are now 6,285 fewer people unemployed in the state. According to the Maine Department of Labor, the February 2010 (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate is about 8.2% which indicates a one tenth increase from the January report. According to Maine Public Broadcasting Network this refers to the actual job numbers of 57,900 people statewide that are not able to find work. This has to lead to an increase of 6500 unemployed people from a year ago. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Maine unemployment has been holding steady around the 8% mark since March of 2009 .This too after seeing a sharp increase from 5.9% to 6.4% in October 2008. Before that it had been a moderately soft increase from the lower 3% in 2000.

The employment sector which has lost the most jobs is the construction sector. Although the preliminary data indicates a 22.1% unemployment rate in this sector but then the unemployment number had been as high as 30.5% in January of 2008.The good news is that the unemployment in this section has been falling in the past few months. There are some other sectors which too are looking up including the Professional and Business (a -3% change over a 12 month period) and the Financial sector (-6.5% over a 12 month). In February the overall U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.7 leaving Maine well below the national average.

There are several factors which have contributed to Maine's unemployment rate. There have been several textile plant closings that have generated large layoffs, as well as the planned closure of the Brunswick Naval Air Station to be completed in 2011. Many sections of the base have already shut down, resulting in job loss. Several schools have had to lay off teachers as well over the course of the year as many townships found themselves strapped for cash.

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