As US hits milestone for job recovery, Maine still has ground to make up

The U.S. economy picked up the pace for job growth in May, adding 217,000 nonfarm payroll jobs and topping the 2008 peak of 138.4 million jobs, according to the latest jobs report.

But as the nation’s job tally rises back to pre-recession levels, nearly five years after the recovery began, Maine still has around 15,000 jobs to pick up before hitting pre-recession levels. That’s approximately half of the jobs lost in Maine since the recession started in December 2007, and most of the jobs recovered are in the state’s major metropolitan areas, according to an analysis by the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

Nationally, the recovery from the Great Recession has been prolonged. In Maine, which has lagged the pace of national recovery, the depth of the last recession remains clear. As always, the state’s Center for Workforce Research and Information provides some good context. While nonfarm job counts for May aren’t yet out at the state level, the chart below gives a good idea of the status of Maine’s recovery, compared with previous recessions (the current recession is in red):

But while the pace of the recovery is lagging the nation, Maine has gained nonfarm jobs in year-over-year counts for every month since June 2011. Peruse those figures — again, from CWRI — here.

As with the rest of the country, Maine’s job recovery has been mostly due to gains in the private sector, as government jobs have been on a steady fall since at least January 2011. Private sector jobs since then were up more than 15,000 while government jobs dropped by more than 3,000.

May nonfarm job performance for Maine will be out June 20.

Darren Fishell

About 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.