More of the same: Slow Maine GDP growth fuels political haymaking

Maine’s metropolitan areas lagged growth rates for other areas of the country in the last year, continuing a longer term trend in Maine’s economy.

In one-year and 12-year comparisons, growth in the value of goods and services coming from Maine’s major metropolitan areas is below the median for metropolitan areas around the country.

While there’s little difference in comparisons with Maine MSAs over those time periods, it’s clear in comparing one-year and longer-term trends that the Lewiston-Auburn and Portland areas have driven any of the increases in the state’s GDP.

Bangor had a sluggish 3.2 percent growth from 2001 to 2013, compared with more than 13 percent in L-A and the Portland areas. From 2012 to 2013, L-A was closer to the growth rate of Bangor, with Portland slightly ahead of both at 0.66 percent.

The national average growth rate was 1.7 percent.

While easy to fire off, those numbers tell a complicated story that, in an election year, is regularly simplified across the political spectrum.

As state economists have told me and the Associated Press before, those figures have little to do with who is in the Blaine House.

For related reading on that topic, see the story that Mario Moretto and I wrote earlier this month that tries to size up how Gov. Paul LePage’s promise to make Maine more business friendly has played out.

The latest data at the metro level contains still deeper insights and I’ll be looking into those later, as well.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.