Maine's April unemployment rate highest on record

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - New numbers show Maine's unemployment rate last month is the highest on record at 10.6 percent.

The Maine Department of Labor released that information Friday morning.

The April rate is a 7.4 increase from March.

That's the largest single-month jump since Maine starting using its current estimating method in 1976.

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate for April is 14.7 percent, also a record high.

Officials say this data provides the clearest picture to date of how COVID-19 has impacted the labor market in Maine.

The estimated number of non-farm jobs dropped by in Maine dropped by more than 98,000 in April, following a decrease of 7,200 in March.

Economists say as sharp as the increase is in unemployment, it doesn't fully reflect the magnitude of job loss.

Mark McInerny with the Maine Department of Labor says, "To meet the definition of an unemployed person and individual must be engaged in work search activities, though many people did not feel safe engaging in work search activities and were prevented from doing so. As a result, we see a large number of respondents that were not counted as unemployed because they were not engaging, though they were likely job losers who otherwise would be able and capable of going to work."

In Maine, this resulted in 28,600 fewer people in the labor force than in February.

If these individuals were counted as unemployed, the April unemployment rate would have been even higher in Maine and in the nation.

You can find the full unemployment report by visiting maine.gov/labor.