All posts by Darren Fishell

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.

One number that gives Maine’s paper industry hope


The paper industry ain’t what it used to be, but a recent survey of paper producers found new investment last year hit the highest point since 2003, at $173 million this year. That figure — about double the investment from 2013 — is a bright spot for an industry that has needed investment to upgrade machinery and become more efficient […]

Maine led nation for drop in fossil-fuel carbon emissions

Maine’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped the most of any state from 2000 to 2013, according to an analysis of fossil fuel-related emissions by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The analysis factors in total emissions from burning fossil fuels and does not include generation from biomass, which made up about 27.3 percent of the state’s total generation capacity in 2013. Maine was […]

More money meant more winning in Portland races

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Portland’s mayor-elect and committees winning local referendum questions far out-raised the campaigns they trounced. Now, that’s quite cynical (I’ll explain), but vote totals from last night give us the denominator for the fun equation: $$$ / vote. The graph (comparing spending with vote totals from Tuesday night) says it better than I can: Now, there are a few caveats, particularly with the […]

Is there a bridge that needs work in your town?

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Data from the Maine Department of Transportation presented in a report Wednesday by the industry group TRIP, or The Road Information Program, showed that 15 percent of the state’s bridges have some structural deficiency. The group and the state DOT are drawing attention to the figures in advance of a bond question on the Nov. 3 ballot whether the state […]

Are you $700 richer this year? Gas price report says you should be


On Sunday, the average gallon of gas in Maine cost $2.27, down $1.17 from one year ago. The surprise global drop in crude oil prices has broad implications internationally and raises specific challenges for domestic gas and oil producers, but a new report gives a sense of the average benefit for the approximately 506,191 Maine households with cars (according to the latest census survey, […]

Census: Maine homes continue switch from heating oil

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For better or for worse, homeowners continued to shift away from heating their homes with No. 2 oil as more install natural gas and propane systems. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show the share of Maine homes using heating oil dropped by a statistically significant amount in 2014, as falling crude oil prices lowered heating oil […]

A bird’s eye view of Maine’s changing cities since 1984

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Imagine you’ve been aboard a spacecraft, orbiting over Bangor at least once a year since 1984. That’s basically what Google’s satellite time lapse search is like, using images collected by Google Earth. You can have the basic orbiting experience without all the space miles. Just press play (click below the year to change the speed of the time lapse). […]

Car-related sales help drive Maine’s recovery

Pat and Steve Kotyk (from left) of Eddintgon watch as mechanic Jim Giguere makes a minor repiar to their car Friday at Main Street Garage in Bangor. Accoridng to Mike Giguere, Jim's father and owner of the garage, the economic downturn has meant "less sales, more repairs" at the business, which sells and services used cars. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KATE COLLINS)

It appears we love our vehicles, or that an improving economy has made Mainers feel a little better about investing in their rides. For all but seven months from 2010 to 2015, automobile-related sales have grown after taking a dive with every other type of spending during the recession. That category of spending has consistently growth faster through Maine’s […]

Doing continues to supplant making in Maine


There are plenty of individual makers in Maine, but a new data set from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows continued gains for service industries as growth in industries like manufacturing and construction lag behind. The new data set (its methods still being refined) shows inflation-adjusted GDP (in 2009 dollars) by industry for the states as recently as two quarters […]

Maine’s drinking again like it’s 1970


Maine’s been drinking more lately. Per capita alcohol consumption (ages 21 and up) has been on the rise since the late 1990s, returning near levels of the early 1970s, according to annual reports from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The reports are based on state data, when available, and industry shipment data in other cases […]