PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine officials say the state has reached its lowest unemployment rate on record.

The state Department of Labor says the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 3 percent. The department says that is the lowest rate on record since the current estimation methodology was implemented in 1976.

The state's unemployment rate fell from 3.2 percent in February and 3.7 percent a year ago. The number of unemployed people was also down by 4,500 over the year to 21,000.

The Labor Department also says the unemployment rate was below 4 percent in 14 of the last 17 months. That has only happened in two other periods in the last 41 years.

Maine's unemployment rate has fallen close to the lowest in New England. New Hampshire's was 2.8 percent.