AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine labor officials said Friday the state experienced its sharpest surge in unemployment in its history in April as companies shed jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The state had a 10.6% unemployment rate in April, the highest on record, the Maine Department of Labor said. The 7.4 percentage point increase was also the largest for a one- or two-month period under the current methodology, which was adopted in the 1970s, department said.
The trends in Maine were similar to those around the country, which transitioned to widespread stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in March and April. The U.S. unemployment rate was 14.7%.
The Maine labor department said in a statement the numbers still do not “fully reflect the magnitude of job loss that has occurred,” because the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the labor market in many ways.
In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:
HOME SALES DOWN
Sales of single-family homes are also down because of the pandemic, but the value of the homes that sold actually grew last month.
All told, 194 fewer homes were sold in April compared to the previous year for a decrease of about 15%, but the median sales price grew 12% to $235,800 compared to the previous year, according to Maine Listings.
Most real estate transactions take 30 to 45 days to close, so contracts written before the pandemic have now been completed, said Tom Cole, president of the Maine Association of Realtors.
Buyers remain plentiful even though the current inventory of homes is down 19% compared to a year ago.
More tests have been completed at the Maine Correctional Center, and no one else has tested positive, officials said.
The Maine Department of Corrections said none of the 221 tests has come back positive after one inmate came down with the coronavirus and was placed in isolation this week.
All told, 484 samples have been sent to the Maine Center for Disease Control lab with more tests results expected Friday.
MAINE CDC DATA
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention plans to begin providing more data on the coronavirus soon.
The agency “in the coming days” will begin providing information on new and active cases at the town level, or perhaps even on a more “granular” level than that, said Dr. Nirav Shah, the Maine CDC director. The state currently breaks down the testing data by county.
The agency also will begin posting daily negative test numbers, allowing the calculation of the positive test rate, Shah said.