1 in 3 Maine adults not working, not looking

"Now Hiring" signs seen around southern Maine (WGME)

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- On this Labor Day 2017, the nationwide unemployment rate is 4.3% and it's even lower in Maine at 3.7%.

On the surface, the widely-reported numbers look optimistic, but some economists say unemployment rates are misleading because if you stop actively looking for a job, even if you don't find one, you're no longer counted as unemployed.

As you drive around southern Maine, you've probably noticed a lot of "Help Wanted and "Now Hiring" signs.

Business owners tell us there aren't enough people applying for jobs.

The Maine Department of Labor says as the oldest state in the country, we have an aging workforce and not enough workers to replace those retiring.

According to the Department of Labor, Maine's labor force participation rate is 64%.

The labor force participation rate reflects the adult population working or actively looking for a job, meaning 36% of the state's potential work force has retired, given up, or isn't trying to find a job -- that's more than 1 in 3.

There's concern in Maine and across the country about the growing burden of paying taxes and social security on a shrinking number of people who are working.

The Maine Department of Labor says it's working to develop strategies to grow the workforce, including helping employers with recruiting and training.

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