Category Archives: Economy

Maine’s economy pivots to quick growth in first quarter

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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. […]

How many in Maine have left the office behind? Have you?

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A new group launching in Portland this week hopes to get better information about the group of people who, generally, don’t work out of the same building as their boss. Broadly, that means people who can work from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. Ryan Wallace, director of the Muskie School’s Center for Business and Economic Research, says there’s not good information […]

On jobs, compare your community with the neighbors

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The Maine Department of Labor has published a new look at annual unemployment data, letting users zero in on a specific area of the state and its neighboring communities. Follow the steps in the interactive map below to see annual unemployment rates for specific communities and the surrounding areas.  For reference, the statewide average unemployment rate for 2015 was […]

Report: Maine among least affordable states for renters

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A report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition has put Maine among the states where it’s hardest to afford housing and rated the Bangor and Portland areas as equally difficult to make rent on a two-bedroom apartment. The report compared federal estimates of fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment with wage data from states and metro areas, measuring where the gap is the […]

Maine unemployment is down from 2007. Underemployment is not

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Explaining what variations in the unemployment rate mean is tough. The standard measure doesn’t really capture the elements of the first question you’d likely ask a friend: “How’s work?” Alternative measures of the jobless rate by state are available and get a little closer at answering the question of “how’s work?” for entire states, but there’s still plenty of details […]

Lobster exports dipped, but remained Maine’s top export

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The Maine International Trade Center on Monday received a top award for helping promote exports from Maine, an area where lobster has come to dominate in recent years. The award gives occasion to revisit Maine’s export history, with census data that goes back to 2002 for a range of 5,808 different commodities (coded by the U.S. International Trade Commission’s Harmonized Tariff […]

What the food stamp analysis does and doesn’t tell us

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Here’s what the state study of food stamp recipients released Wednesday tells us: about 58 percent of the 6,866 “able-bodied adults” who lost SNAP benefits because of new work requirement rules at some point in the next year received wages from an employer, and at a steadily increasing rate. The preliminary findings line up those facts, but the report and its authors don’t draw a […]

How Maine’s population has shifted over 155 years, in one chart

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As recently as 1960, Aroostook County had more people than York County. In 1860, Washington County had a larger population than most of the midcoast. Changes during the past 155 years give a shorthand look at Maine’s economic and political history, with southern and central Maine counties gaining in Maine’s population rankings. Below, each county is represented by a line, tracking its rank in each census […]