Maine’s Jobs Recovery is Mostly in Portland

4 out of every 5 jobs that Maine employers have added in the last five years have been in the greater Portland area, according to data released yesterday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Portland area—spanning from Kennebunk in the south to Freeport in the north—has added 7,800 nonfarm payroll jobs since the end of the recession in June 2009, while the remainder of the state has only added 1,800.

The Lewiston-Auburn area added 1,200 and Greater Bangor added 700.

Outside of Maine’s three major urban areas, there are about as many jobs as there were at the end of the recession, and about 13,500 fewer jobs than there were at the beginning of the recession in December 2007.

The small bit of good news in these data is that there appears to have been at least some job growth in Maine’s rural areas and smaller cities and towns over the past year or so. The data released yesterday are based on an ongoing survey of employers, and will be revised next year when actual payroll job counts based on unemployment insurance filings become available. Currently, the revised data extends through September 2013.

Overall, the state as a whole has only recovered about half the jobs it lost as a result of the recession, while the Portland area is now back to pre-recession levels of payroll employment.

Portland’s share of all the jobs in Maine has increased from 28% in the early 1990s to 32% today, in part reflecting the continuing decline of jobs in manufacturing and natural resource extraction and the rise of urban service-sector employment.