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Contact: Glenn Mills (207) 621-5192

Maine Unemployment Rate 5.5 Percent in December

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released December workforce estimates for Maine.

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Household Survey Estimates

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in December was down slightly from 5.7 percent in November and down from 6.4 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 6,700 over the year to 38,400.


The employment to population ratio estimate of 60.8 percent remained above the U.S. average (59.2 percent) for the 87th consecutive month.


The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 5.6 percent was down slightly from 5.8 percent in November and down from 6.7 percent one year ago.

Labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and labor market areas is available here.

Payroll Survey Estimates

The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for December of 609,200 is up 5,100 from one year ago. Private sector jobs were up 5,300, primarily in the professional and business services, and education and healthcare sectors. The estimate for government was down 400 from one year ago.

Nonfarm payroll jobs data for the state and three metropolitan areas is available here.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in December, down from 6.2 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 3.5 percent in Cumberland County to 8.1 percent in Piscataquis County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.


The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (3.7 percent), Lewiston-Auburn (4.4 percent) and Bangor (4.6 percent).

Due to annual benchmark revisions, release of January data will be delayed until Tuesday, March 17 (Data Release Schedule).


1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including unemployment and employment to population ratios for Maine tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (to be published in March 2015) will eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of preliminary and annually revised unemployment rates is available at

2. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from October 2013 to September 2014 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2015. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.