Maine’s July unemployment rate continues an extensive period of low jobless claims.

July’s preliminary rate of 3.7 percent extends to 22 consecutive months the time during which the jobless rate has been below 4 percent. It’s the second-longest stretch in 40 years, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Labor.

The July rate is a slight increase over June’s 3.5 percent unemployment rate.

Maine’s rate compared favorably against the national unemployment rate, which for July came in at 4.3 percent. It was little changed from June’s 4.4 percent.

The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.1 percent, with 2.8 percent in New Hampshire; 3.1 percent in Vermont; 4.3 percent in Massachusetts; 4.3 percent in Rhode Island; and 5.0 percent in Connecticut.

Maine’s metro communities also fared well, with averages in Portland-South Portland of 2.8 percent, Lewiston-Auburn of 3.4 percent and Bangor with 3.7 percent.

The unemployment rate measures the percentage of the workforce that is jobless and looking for work.

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