Maine’s jobless rate remained below 4 percent in July, marking the second longest period at that level in more than four decades.

The Maine Department of Labor reported the preliminary estimate of Maine’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in July, up slightly from June and down from 4 percent one year earlier.

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The slight uptick in Maine’s unemployment rate comes from a new diversion in the estimate of people looking for work and those with jobs, changes that could be due to the way those estimates are made and adjusted.

The latest figures estimate a dip in the number of employed people, while the estimate of the people looking for work has continued to grow. The unemployment rate is the share of those active job seekers who haven’t found work.

A separate survey of employers found that payroll jobs are up about 6,300 compared with July 2016, to 624,000. The largest gains were in healthcare, hospitality and construction sectors, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

The jobless rate has been lowest in the state’s urban and coastal areas over the past year, according to the latest estimates, with pockets of much higher unemployment in certain northern and western Maine towns.

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Maine’s jobless rate was higher than New Hampshire (2.8 percent) and Vermont (3.1 percent) and lower than Massachusetts (4.3 percent), Rhode Island (4.3 percent) and Connecticut (5 percent).

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.