Portland Park Avenue

Unemployment rates in Maine’s three metropolitan areas continue to fall, according to figures released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Portland-South Portland boasts the second-lowest jobless rate in the U.S., with a 1.9 percent unemployment rate in July. That’s down from 2.3 percent this June and down from 2.7 percent in July 2018.

At 1.8 percent, only Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont, has a lower unemployment rate than Portland.

The civilian unemployment figures for July are preliminary and not seasonally adjusted.

Bangor saw its unemployment rate drop to 2.5 percent in July compared with 2.8 percent in June. Last year the rate was much higher at 3.9 percent.

Lewiston-Auburn also saw a drop in unemployment to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent in June. Last year the rate was 3.4 percent.

Bureau figures show all three metro areas suffered a decline in the number of workers over the past year. The reason is not clear.

The national unemployment rate remains at 4 percent, nearly unchanged from a year ago. In all, 217 of the country’s 389 metro areas saw lower unemployment in July compared with a year ago.

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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...