Press Herald - Maine’s shrinking labor force appears to be a key factor driving the decline in the state’s unemployment rate. Unemployment data by the Maine Department of Labor shows a 4 percent drop in the state’s civilian labor force over the two years that ended in February, and a 5 percent decrease from the state’s recent high in August 2013. Preliminary estimates also show that Maine’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in February, its lowest rate since March 2001 and a decline from 3.8 percent in January and 4.7 percent in February 2015, according to the labor department’s Center for Workforce and Information.
However, Maine had roughly 3,300 fewer employed workers in February, a decline from about 653,000 a year earlier, the labor department said. The unemployment rate went down because the size of the state’s labor force decreased more, by 11,600 to 673,800 during the same period.