AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor has released their findings for workforce conditions and unemployment numbers for the month of July.
According to what they found, workforce conditions continued to recover in July from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly payroll and household surveys indicate:
- Nonfarm payroll jobs increased 10,100 in July
- 43,900 jobs have been recovered since the April low; the July total remained down 60,600 from February
- The unemployment rate increased to 9.9 percent
- Labor force participation increased to pre-pandemic levels
The department says the increase in unemployment in July is due to a surge in labor force participation. They say this causes their estimates to more fully reflect the job displacement that happened as a result of the pandemic than estimates for the previous three months did.
Between April and July the labor force increased by 39,000 after decreasing 36,000 between February and April. This occurred because people who lost jobs in March and April could not engage in normal work search activities because of the stay-at-home order and safety concerns.
The department says the gradual relaxation of the order and greater comfort with the situation brought people back into the labor force over the last three months, especially in July. (The labor force is comprised of employed and unemployed people. Unemployed people are those who searched for work and were available to work. People who are not employed are not considered to be unemployed if they did not search for work or were not available to work. This includes retired people, homemakers, inmates, some who are disabled, and many students, as described by the Maine DOL.)
Another issue the department points out is that unemployment was understated in recent months due to misclassifications of many laid-off people. Many, while filing, labeled themselves as “employed, not at work” rather than as “temporarily unemployed” as they should be if they expect to return to their job.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that a more appropriate classification of those who expect to return to their job would increase Maine’s unemployment rate by 0.9 percentage points to 10.8 percent and the U.S. rate 0.8 points to 11 percent.
For a full look at the data from the DOL, click HERE.
For a look at payroll job estimates by industry, click HERE.