Maine’s July unemployment rate stayed at an all-time low of 2.4% for the fourth month in a row, the state Department of Labor announced.

Unemployment in Maine has been on a downward trend since May 2020, when the rate hit 9.3% around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. July also marks the 20th consecutive month that the rate has been below 4% – the third longest such period on record.

The percentage of unemployed Mainers varies by county. Washington and Somerset counties saw the highest unemployment rate in July at 3.7%, while Cumberland and York counties saw the lowest at 2.1%.

The rate comes amid a tight labor market. Maine has grappled with a labor shortage for years – a problem that was severely affected by the pandemic. That market, the Labor Department previously said, has led to more teens in the workforce – and in turn, more teens injured while on the job.

The number of nonfarm jobs in Maine decreased by 2,900 from June to July at 643,200. The Labor Department suggested that the decrease in jobs might be affected by a very rainy summer. MDOL reports that last month the weather-dependent leisure and hospitality and construction industries took the largest hits. In July, 5.77 inches of rain fell on Maine – well over the National Weather Service’s normal 3.43 inches.

The question is now whether that low streak will stay steady. Maine’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has historically ticked upward following the end of summer.

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