Based on the most reliable data available, Maine ranked 48th among the states in job growth from January 2011 to September 2013.
Augusta, Maine (Monday, March 17, 2014) The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) issued the following statement from executive director Garrett Martin concerning the January 2014 employment report released today by the Maine Department of Labor:
“Today’s jobs report confirms that Maine continues to suffer from a weak jobs recovery. Based on the most reliable data available, Maine ranked 48th among the states in job growth from January 2011 to September 2013. Job numbers through January 2014 tell the same story but are subject to future revision.
“Maine’s unemployment rate continues to decline along with the nation as a whole, but this trend masks a troubling lack of improvement in the job market for Maine’s rural residents and for prime-working-age adults. Employment rates for residents between the ages of 25-54—those most likely to be working and raising families—have not yet begun to recover from the recession. In addition, all of Maine’s job growth since the end of the recession has been located in Maine’s three major cities.”
Later this week, MECEP will release a more comprehensive analysis of Maine’s jobs and employment recovery thus far from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
• Maine’s unemployment rate continues to decline but at a slower rate than the nation as a whole. Maine’s return to pre-recession rates of unemployment is 56 percent complete and ranks 31st among states.
• Based on revised payroll jobs data through September 2013, Maine ranks 48th among states in job growth since January 2011. The 2.6% growth in private sector employment (12,500 private sector jobs) since January 2011 ranks 46th among states. The loss of 4,600 public sector jobs was the 11th largest in the nation, in percentage terms.
• Demographic trends and population growth have the potential to influence Maine’s recovery. Accounting for population growth, Maine ranks 38th in total job growth from January 2011 to September 2013, 35th in private sector job growth, and 32nd in public sector job growth. Vermont, with a similar demographic profile and limited population growth, has fared better than Maine.
• Labor force participation and employment rates for Maine’s prime-working-age population (age 25-54) have not increased since the end of the recession.
• Maine’s employment recovery is confined to Maine’s three major cities and their immediate surroundings. While the state as a whole saw a net increase of 6,900 jobs from June 2009 through September 2013, Portland added 7,000 jobs, Bangor added 1,000, and Lewiston-Auburn added 1,300. The rest of the state saw a net decline in payroll jobs over the same period. Among states where unemployment is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, the difference in Maine is one of the largest in the nation, and Maine’s rural areas have seen a slower decline in unemployment rates than the state as a whole.
• More comprehensive measures of unemployment reveal other concerns about Maine’s labor market. Maine’s comprehensive rate of unemployment, which accounts for unemployed workers who have recently stopped looking for work and part-time workers who want more work but can’t find it, has recovered at a slower rate than the nation as a whole. These comprehensive figures also show that Maine has the 6th highest percentage of part-time Maine workers who want more work but can’t find it.