Maine’s labor market remains tight as March’s unemployment rate of 3.4 percent is little changed from the previous month.

It also is only a tick higher than March 2018’s rate of 3.2 percent.

The Maine Department of Labor released its preliminary report Friday. The state has seen jobless rates under 4 percent for more than three years – a historic run that has made hiring more difficult for many businesses.

Unemployment was lowest in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties, where rates were 2.9 percent, and highest in Washington County at 6.3 percent.

The nonfarm, private sector jobs estimate was up 2,600 to 532,500, with gains primarily in the hospitality and manufacturing sectors, according to the labor department. The government estimate was up 300 to 100,300 jobs, with gains primarily at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

Jobless rates are even more extreme in three other New England states. Rates in New Hampshire were 2.4 percent, and in Vermont, 2.3 percent. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in March was 3.0 percent.

At 3.8 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, Rhode Island and Connecticut’s rates were higher than Maine’s.

The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for March was unchanged from February and little changed from 4.0 percent one year ago.


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