AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s jobless rate rose by 0.2 percentage point in December to 4.7 percent, the Baldacci administration said.

“The unemployment rate rose slightly between November and December as more Maine residents entered the labor market looking for work, outweighing an increase in employment,” Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said Tuesday.

December’s unemployment rate was lower than Maine’s rate of 5.2 percent for December 2003, and well below the national December 2004 rate of 5.4 percent, Fortman said.

But Maine’s December rate, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in the labor market, was the highest in New England.

The Labor Department reported an increase of 1,400 non-farm jobs between November and December. The largest job gains were in health care and social assistance, retail trade, construction and leisure and hospitality services.

The gains more than offset a loss of manufacturing jobs.

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