The job market in Maine has changed a lot in the last 25 years. National and international changes certainly play a factor. But here we look at results and speculate at causes.
The chart below shows the percent change in nonfarm jobs by industry, up to the quarter ending in March.
The relative size of each industry is indicated in the width of a given line.
At the outsides of the chart are management (boom) and manufacturing (bust). It’s interesting to note that right under the rise in management is a rise in administrative and waste services (office cleaning and other waste disposal).
That’s helped by a broader trend away from manufacturing and toward service sector jobs.
The detailed change by industry shows the dynamics within an overall 14.75 percent increase in nonfarm jobs since 1990.
Nationally, the decline in manufacturing jobs has been driven both by advances in technology and globalization that’s moved some production elsewhere. That is, jobs are not a measure of output.
The decline in government jobs has also been a trend to watch over a shorter term in Maine’s job market, but the longer-term breakdown shows it’s the balance of an increase in local government jobs and a decline in federal government jobs.
That is, while Maine depends on a good deal of federal money, the federal government has employed fewer people in the state since the mid-1990s and held job levels there.
Of course, federal money finds its way to support Maine’s economy elsewhere, like the health care industry.
Health care and social services jobs have nearly doubled since 1990. It’s the biggest area of growth for the state’s job market. An aging population surely plays a role, with the state’s metro areas and service centers having anchors in that industry.