Maine finished 2016 with more people employed than in 2015.

The number of unemployed Mainers at the end of December was 26,200 – 900 fewer than the end of 2015, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Maine Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate in December was 3.8 percent, down slightly from November’s 4.0 percent and lower still from the 4.1 percent unemployment rate of December 2015.

The U.S. preliminary December unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was little changed from 4.6 percent in November and down from 5.0 percent one year ago.

Maine’s employment-to-population ratio estimate of 61 percent remained above the U.S. average of 59.7 percent.

Maine’s 3.8 percent unemployment in December fell in the middle of the pack in New England, where the average jobless rate was 3.5 percent. Rates for other states were 2.6 percent in New Hampshire, 3.1 percent in Vermont, 2.8 percent in Massachusetts, 5.0 percent in Rhode Island, and 4.4 percent in Connecticut.

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