Maine’s unemployment numbers in February dropped to the lowest rate in 42 years.

The state’s preliminary rate of 2.9 percent hasn’t been seen since 1976, according to a release from the Maine Department of Labor.

 The number of unemployed Mainers dropped by 3,000 from January levels to 20,000 in February — also a level not seen since in 1976.

The 2.9 percent rate is just slightly lower than January’s rate of 3.0 percent, and down from 3.3 percent a year ago.

But it is well below the national average of 4.1 percent, which has been unchanged for five months, said the DOL. The New England average for February was 3.6 percent.

Unemployment estimates for other states in the region were 2.6 percent in New Hampshire; 2.8 percent in Vermont; 3.5 percent in Massachusetts; 4.5 percent in Rhode Island; and 4.6 percent in Connecticut.

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