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.

Maine’s drinking again like it’s 1970

Wine

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 […]

Maine-based companies got dinged, too, in Monday’s market correction

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 5.54.00 PM

Maine has few publicly traded companies, but the stock prices of those headquartered here and those with major ties to the state did get dinged in the market-wide correction Monday. By the market’s close, the S&P 500 index was down 3.94 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.57 percent, after early-morning panic that saw some […]

Verso’s Jay shutdown adds to massive drop in U.S. paper capacity

LEWISTON SUN-JOURAL PHOTO BY AMBER WATERMAN

For perhaps the second year in a row, hundreds of Verso paper mill employees in Maine may face losing their jobs around the holidays (late 2015 or early 2016, the company says). It absolutely sucks, whatever the reason. And the almost unrelenting bad news for paper mill workers in the state hurts more against the memory of what was, for sure. After […]

Pike’s peak: Toll data signals better Maine tourism season

BDN Photo by Brian Swartz.

If you’ve felt the Maine Turnpike is more crowded than last year, it’s not just you. Traffic through the first two weekends of busiest August was up about 1.6 percent and passenger traffic (cars, motorcycles and buses with fewer than 13 passengers) was up more than 5 percent from January-July. The latest figures are one sign that Maine’s tourism season […]

Does a weak loonie put a dent in Canadian tourism to Maine?

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 1.21.26 AM

The Canadian dollar is at its weakest since December 2005. But the loonie’s current slump, to about 77 cents to the U.S. dollar Wednesday, comes at an unusual time of year: the peak season for Canadian tourism to Maine. That has some in the hospitality industry concerned that Canadian tourists will forego trips or curtail spending on their vacations, as the Canadian dollar […]

Maine gets ranked 42nd in fiscal health

FR-OVERALL-Map-1

Analysis by a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has placed Maine 42nd in the state for fiscal health, due largely to its poor ranking for short-term insolvency. The overall ranking is based on 2013 audited financial reports for the states, assessing their ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations. Maine ranked 50th for cash-on-hand based on […]

Cold winter didn’t sap Maine maple syrup production

Maine produced more maple syrup in 2015 than the previous year, despite a bitterly cold winter that shortened the average number of harvesting days for Maine taps. Maine was again behind Vermont and New York for syrup production, holding fast to third place in the country for maple syrup output, producing about 553,000 gallons last year. That’s a little more than […]