After significant problems at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s overall employment situation has improved — and even surpassed January employment rates — according to the latest data from Track the Recovery.
Track the Recovery’s numbers, however, are not seasonally adjusted to reflect the higher employment rates in Maine during summer months. Overall employment in August still was significantly lower than the same time last year, according to the state Department of Labor.
Most of that deficit comes from the state’s lowest-paying jobs, which have not rebounded like high-wage and middle-wage jobs in Maine.
The state’s employment rebound is buoyed by growth in the high-wage category, which is up 11.4 percent compared to January, and the middle-wage category, which is up 11.5 percent over pre-pandemic numbers.
Low-wage jobs in the state — many associated with the restaurant and hospitality industries — have not rebounded yet and are still 8.1 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
Maine’s employment rebound runs counter to what is being felt across the country. Employment remains down in all three wage groups nationally:
High-wage jobs (over $60,000 annually) are 1.6 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
Middle-wage jobs ($27,000-$60,000) are down 5.3 percent since January.
And, low-wage jobs (less than $27,000) are down 16.1 percent.