Category Archives: Economy

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 […]

Madison Paper buckled under big spike in Canadian imports

Madison Paper Industries

In announcing the closure of Madison Paper Industries, observers pointed to a one-two punch of declining domestic demand and rising imports, alongside high winter energy costs. Federal import figures give a picture of just what the mill was up against in recent years. From July-December, imports of supercalendered paper from Canada were up 90 percent by volume and […]

An ‘economic crisis’ in Maine’s paper industry, mapped

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Madison Paper Industries announced it will shut its doors in May. And then there will be eight. The latest paper mill shutdown announcement will make for five major closures in the past three years, after East Millinocket, Lincoln, Old Town and Bucksport. The accounting has varied in the wake of the Madison closure, but without it the operating mills include those […]

Gas and oil may be cheap, but Mainers still spent gobs on them

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While gasoline prices have dipped to surprising lows, oil-heavy Maine households still spent more on it and other energy commodities than almost every other state. Maine had the third-highest per-capita cost for gasoline and other energy goods, not including utilities like electricity or piped natural gas. It was behind the other small and cold states of North Dakota and Wyoming for those […]