Today’s Employment Report “Shows that Maine’s Labor Market Continues on a Slow Path to Recovery”

Weak employment growth for prime-working-age adults and Maine’s large number of part-time workers are concerns; recovery remains confined largely to urban areas.

Augusta, Maine (Friday, May 16, 2014) The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) issued the following statement from executive director Garrett Martin concerning the monthly employment report released today by the Maine Department of Labor which found that Maine’s unemployment rate has declined from 5.9 percent in March to 5.7 percent in April:

“Today’s jobs report shows that Maine’s labor market continues on a slow path to recovery nearly five years since the official end of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Maine’s unemployment rate continues to decline along with the nation as a whole, and Maine is just over two-thirds of the way back to pre-recession unemployment rates.

“The monthly payroll jobs survey shows that Maine lost jobs in April, on a seasonally adjusted basis, but these monthly jobs estimates are subject to revision early next year. Despite this, recent trends make clear that Maine’s jobs recovery lags most other states and the rest of New England and is only about half way back to pre-recession levels of payroll employment. Based on the data contained in today’s report, Maine ranks 48th in job growth since January 2011.

“Looking beyond the headline numbers, there continue to be significant concerns about employment prospects for Maine workers. Annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that much of the recent decline in unemployment has been concentrated among older workers as they stay on the job to shore up their finances for retirement, while prime-working-age adults continue to struggle to find work. Quarterly comprehensive unemployment data released last month show that Maine’s large number of part-time workers who can’t find more hours—the fifth largest in the nation— is showing no sign of decline. In addition the recovery thus far has been largely confined to the state’s metropolitan areas, especially greater Portland.”

In April, MECEP released Maine’s Labor Market Recovery: Far from Complete, its in-depth analysis of Maine’s jobs and unemployment recovery.