According to Maine’s Department of Labor, the statewide unemployment rate in June 2019 was 3.2%, a level not seen since November 2000. Maine’s unemployment rate has been continuously below 4% since February 2016. Only Aroostook and Washington Counties had rates over 4%, at 4.6% and 4.1% respectively, and these rates were lower than the prior year.
While low unemployment is more welcome news than high unemployment, as has been reported previously, the shortage of workers is reaching a crisis point in many of Maine’s economic sectors, from high tech to hospitality.
Immigrants, including those coming here seeking asylum, can be part of Maine’s and the nation’s workforce solution. We urgently need to reform our federal immigration laws to recognize the nation’s demographic realities, and the strengths that immigrants have always brought, and will continue to bring to our communities and to our economy.