Augusta, Maine (Wednesday, February 08, 2012) An analysis of federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) reveals that in the year beginning January 1, 2011, Maine lost more jobs per capita than any other state in the nation. Only five other states (Alaska, Missouri, Vermont, Delaware and Wisconsin) lost jobs over the same period, and Maine ranked 50th in job performance nationally.
“More than 48 months after the start of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Maine is headed in the wrong direction, losing more jobs than we are creating and leaving more and more families struggling to make ends meet,” MECEP Executive Director Garrett Martin wrote in a posting on the organization’s blog, Line Items. “As the debate in Augusta continues to focus on Governor LePage’s economically unsound proposal for draconian cuts to health care for children, seniors, families and disabled individuals, the core problems with Maine’s struggling economy remain unresolved. Leading the nation in job losses should be a clarion call for concerted, bipartisan commitment to create Maine jobs.”
MECEP urged Maine lawmakers to take immediate action to pass a robust bond package for transportation, public works and communications infrastructure, education, research and development, small business loans and other investments to create jobs and make Maine more competitive; strengthen policies that promote better quality jobs and increase the accountability and transparency of publicly funded tax incentives; target tax relief to low and middle income families who need it and whose spending will do the most to fuel economic growth; and restore tax fairness to maintain funding for health care, education, job training, child care and other programs that support families.
“The 7,200 jobs Maine lost in 2011 are just the tip of Maine’s persistent jobs crisis iceberg,” Martin wrote. “More than 100,000 Mainers remain unemployed or underemployed. Thousands are working fewer hours and making less in wages than they did before the recession. Increasingly, having a job in Maine does not guarantee economic security for individuals or families. In 2009, the most recent year from which data are available, 1 of every 15 families with at least one member employed full time lived in poverty. And nearly 1 of every 3 had an income less than 200% of poverty, a measure of economic self-sufficiency.”