In this Thursday, March 7, 2019, photo visitors to the Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Credit: Keith Srakocic | AP

The number of unemployed people in Maine in March remained below 4 percent for the 39th consecutive month, the longest period on record.

The rate for March was 3.4 percent, down slightly from the 3.5 percent in February but up from 3.2 percent in March 2018, according to the Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The rate is preliminary and seasonally adjusted.

The number of unemployed Mainers rose 1,100 over the year to 23,600.

Maine’s unemployment is below the U.S. number, which was 3.8 percent for March and unchanged from February. It was 4 percent a year ago.

The New England unemployment rate estimate for March was 3.2 percent, with New Hampshire at 2.4 percent, Vermont at 2.3 percent, Massachusetts at 3 percent, Rhode Island at 3.8 percent and Connecticut at 3.9 percent.

The employment to population estimate of 60.9 percent remained above the 60.6 percent U.S. average.

The 632,800 preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate for March was up 2,900 from one year ago.

The private sector estimate was up 2,600 to 532,500, with gains primarily in the hospitality and manufacturing sectors.

The government estimate was up 300 to 100,300 jobs, with gains primarily at the federal Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.8 percent for March was little changed from 3.9 percent at this time last year.

Unemployment was the lowest in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties at 2.9 percent each and the highest in Washington County at 6.3 percent.

Among metropolitan statistical areas, the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland area at 3 percent and close to the average in the Lewiston-Auburn at 3.7 percent.

The Bangor area, which includes Penobscot County, was 3.8 percent.

The unemployment estimates for April will be published May 17.

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Lori Valigra

Lori Valigra, senior reporter for economy and business, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...