Maine’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent in April, unchanged from March and down 1.1 percentage points from 4.5 percent a year ago.

The number of unemployed job-seekers in Maine declined by 8,000 over the previous year to 22,800, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Labor.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 5 percent was unchanged from March and down from 5.4 percent a year earlier, the department said.

The employment-to-population ratio estimate of 59.7 percent in Maine was the same as the U.S. average.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.4 percent. Rates for other states were 2.6 percent in New Hampshire, 3.2 percent in Vermont, 4.2 percent in Massachusetts, 5.3 percent in Rhode Island and 5.7 percent in Connecticut.

Maine’s preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 612,700 for April was up 2,900 from a year earlier, the department said. The gains were primarily in the hospitality, health care and education sectors. The estimate of 98,400 government jobs was down 1,100 jobs from April 2015, bringing it to the lowest level since 1999.

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