Maine’s economy pivots to quick growth in first quarter

Maine’s economy grew at the ninth-fastest rate in the country during the first quarter of 2016, turning around a steep decline in the same quarter one year earlier.

The mostly nonexistent Maine winter likely helped speed growth in real gross domestic product, which trailed only New Hampshire’s for the first quarter, according to figures released Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For real GDP, controlling for inflation, Maine’s output for all industries was 3.7 percent higher than the first quarter of 2015, according to data from the BEA. That’s a difference of almost $2 billion, with real GDP hitting $52.3 billion for the first three months of 2016 (in chained 2009 dollars).

By industry, strong growth in construction, retail and health care led the way to Maine’s higher output figures in 2016. Manufacturing was also up slightly in the first quarter, but that growth came after a sharp decline in 2015.

The chart below shows changes in real GDP by Maine industry, measured against the same quarter in the previous year.

The first quarter of 2016, in general, was a turnaround of 2015, when most industries posted declines in real GDP.

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.