Continued Slow Growth in Year Five of Economic Recovery: Not All Maine Workers Benefiting

The Maine Center for Economic Policy released today State of Working Maine 2007, its annual report on the status of Maine workers. Data shows that into the fifth year of economic recovery, both Maine and New England are experiencing slow growth relative to the nation.

Maine has experienced better growth than the region over the last six years on indicators like gross state product, per capita income and export dollars.  This is coupled; however, with low employment growth, lopsided wage growth, an aging workforce, and skill shortages in the workforce.  Some of the highlights include: 

  •     Job gains in Healthcare and Education, Professional and Business Services, and Construction
  •     Continued job losses in Manufacturing and Financial Services
  •     Slow wage growth for low and moderate income earners
  •     Widening wage gap between low and upper income earners
  •     Maine continues to lag the region and nation in workers with post-secondary degrees
  •     One third of all Mainers in households with incomes 200% of poverty or less
  •     Large shares of workers unable to earn a livable wage
  •     Regional economic disparities continue across the state

This year’s report has a wealth of data outlining employment, wage, and income trends for Maine and the region as well as a detailed breakdown of the Maine workforce and its characteristics.  The report offers several recommendations for investments in the areas of building the workforce, research and development, infrastructure improvements, and development of a long-term rural economic development plan. 

The complete report is available on-line at State of Working Maine 2007.