State jobless rate remains stuck at 4.5 percent in January

Laura Christensen
March 13, 2018

The Maine Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate fell slightly in January to 3 percent.

January's numbers, through up, were still an improvement compared to 2017, when Lee and Collier's unemployment rates were 4.7 and 4.5 percent, respectively.

In a year-over-year comparison (January 2017 to January 2018), nonfarm payroll employment in California increased by 400,100 jobs (a 2.4 percent increase).

Counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state were Citrus at 6 percent, up from 5.4 percent in December, and Sumter, 5.9 percent, up from 5.3 percent at the end of 2017. Comparatively, the national unemployment rate declined to 4.1 percent from 4.8 percent.

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The report incorporates annual benchmark revisions for nonfarm payrolls as well as labor force statistics.

When people stop looking for work, they are no longer considered unemployed for the objective of calculating the jobless rate, thus lowering the rate. This compares with 351,959 in December and 386,875 in January of a year ago. The state lost jobs in the government and financial activities sectors and experienced little change in manufacturing. But the numbers may not be as bad as they seem: the number of employed people stayed flat at 44,286, while the labor force increased by nearly the exact number as that of the unemployed: 272.

Learn more about how unemployment rates are calculated here:

Employment in educational and health services increased by 3,000. Federal labor figures do reflect those distinctions, summing them up under what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the alternative measure of labor underutilization.

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