Category Archives: Economy

Report: Maine among least affordable states for renters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]