Maine’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent in July, up from 3.7 percent in June and a recent low of 3.4 percent in March and April.

The state’s July unemployment rate was down from 4.4 percent a year earlier, according to a release from the Maine Department of Labor, and the number of unemployed workers declined by 3,100 over the year to 26,600.

Meanwhile, the U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in July was unchanged from June and down from 5.3 percent in July 2015.

The recent rise in unemployment estimates for Maine should not be interpreted as an indication that workforce conditions in Maine are deteriorating, the Labor Department said in its Friday release. Other metrics such as payroll jobs indicate continued improvement and expansion, it said.

“As we point out each month … preliminary estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course,” the release said. “Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions.”

Maine’s employment-to-population ratio estimate of 60.2 percent was slightly above the U.S. average 59.7 percent, according to the department.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.3 percent in July. Rates for other states were 2.9 percent in New Hampshire, 3.2 percent in Vermont, 4.1 percent in Massachusetts, 5.5 percent in Rhode Island and 5.7 percent in Connecticut.

Maine’s preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 618,100 for July was up 5,900 from a year earlier. Private sector jobs were up 7,500, primarily in the retail, finance, education, health care, professional and business services and hospitality sectors. The estimate of 99,100 government jobs was down 1,600 from July 2015.


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