State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released April workforce estimates for Maine.

The unemployment rate was the lowest since September 2008 and the employment-to-population ratio remained the highest since November 2008. Over the last year, job growth was spread across a number of sectors.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate was 5.7 percent in April, down from 5.9 percent in March and 6.8 percent one year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the number of unemployed declined 7,400 over the year to 40,500.

The share of the population that is employed remained at 61.8 percent, well above the U.S. average of 58.9 percent. April was the 79th consecutive month the employment-to-population ratio was above the national average.

Like the nation in April, lower labor force participation was the primary factor pushing the unemployment rate down, rather than rising employment. The decline in labor force participation was much smaller in Maine, resulting in a smaller unemployment rate decline.

Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of the size and rate of participation in Maine’s labor force have trended up in the winter, usually peaking in March, before declining through summer in three of the previous four years. This reflects an anomaly in seasonal adjustment.

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent in March and 7.5 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate averaged 6.1 percent. Rates for other states were 4.4 percent in New Hampshire, 3.3 percent in Vermont, 6.0 percent in Massachusetts, 8.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 6.9 percent in Connecticut.