By Joseph Cyr
The local job market has remained somewhat consistent in that the percentage of people unemployed in Aroostook County has not changed much over the past year, but that is not necessarily a positive sign for the area.
The Maine Department of Labor announced Jan. 25 that the unemployment rate for Aroostook County was 9.1 percent in December 2010. That rate is down one-tenth of a percent from the 9.2 rate in November. The lowest rate for 2010 came during the summer months when 7.8 percent of the workforce was unemployed.
December’s figure is better than the record high unemployment rate experienced in April of 2010 when 11.1 percent of the workforce was out of a job. That rate was the highest seen in Aroostook County in the past decade.
In comparison, the state unemployment rate for December 2010 was 7.5 percent. Aroostook County shares the same 9.1 percent rate experienced for December on the national level.
There were 31,084 people working in the County in December, out of a total labor force of 34,191 individuals. That number has been consistently low over the past two years. November’s total of 30,758 people employed was the lowest number of people employed seen in the County over the past decade. The highest number of people employed in the workforce was 33,746 experienced in October of 2006.
The lowest county unemployment rate was found in Cumberland at 5.7 percent, while the highest rate was 11.1 percent in Piscataquis County.
Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas, as well as nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas is available at www.maine.gov/labor/lmis/data.html.
By Joseph Cyr