“Today’s report confirms that, unlike residents of most states, Mainers are still waiting for employment levels to recover to pre-recession levels”
Augusta, Maine (Friday, June 17, 2016) The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) issued the following statement from Policy Analyst James Myall in response to state employment data for May, released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS reported that Maine was among the majority of states which experienced no statistically significant change since April in the number of people employed in the state. BLS estimated that the number of individuals employed in Maine fell by 900 individuals in the last month and the state’s official unemployment rate rose from 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent.
“Today’s report confirms that, unlike residents of most states, Mainers are still waiting for employment levels to recover to pre-recession levels. The disappointing May jobs report mirrors lackluster national employment figures, which caused some national pundits to raise concerns about the strength of the nation’s economy and the possibility of a downturn in the near future. One month does not make a trend, and it’s important to recall that the monthly employment figures have a significant margin of error. It would be premature to assume an economic downturn or even slowdown from just one month’s numbers.
“One positive indicator from this month’s numbers is that preliminary estimates show an additional 3,000 Mainers joined the labor market in May, following additional upticks in the first few months of the year. The return of discouraged workers to the labor force is essential for Maine’s long-term economic future. However, Maine’s labor force remains smaller than it was in May 2015. It’s also worth remembering that the local unemployment rate in parts of Maine, especially rural areas, is much higher than the statewide rate – 6.0% in Aroostook and over 5% in Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington Counties.”