In this June 15, 2020, file photo, customers dine on the sidewalk outside Portland Pie in Brunswick. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine’s labor market has almost fully recovered after seeing a sharp loss of 95,000 jobs in the early days of the pandemic — a loss documented in a new report from the Maine Department of Labor.

Glenn Mills of the Department of Labor said most sectors have jobs levels similar to 2019 or even higher. But participation in the workforce is lagging.

Mills said some people left the job market because of child care issues, while others decided to retire.

“That is felt even for employers who typically hire younger people because those younger people are now having opportunities open to them. So it’s just really creating a more competitive environment. And this will take some time to play out,” Mills said.

While sectors such as construction, manufacturing and hospitality have experienced the strongest recoveries, Mills said other sectors are lagging — especially nursing home care.

“In a situation where wages in hospitality have been up significantly, that was really a challenge for nursing care facilities because they’re pretty limited on what they’re able to pay because of Medicare reimbursement rates, so to some extent they’re being outbid by restaurants and others for their staffing,” Mills said.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.