“Maine workers are working harder and more productively than ever for lower real income and fewer benefits,” Martin writes. “State policymakers must seek solutions to preserve economic security and promote economic opportunity for Maine workers now. Doing so will provide an immediate boost to economic activity and better position Maine workers to share in the rewards of a growing economy.”
The report identifies long-term trends that have significant future ramifications for Maine workers. These include the transition from a natural resources and manufacturing based economy, the aging of Maine’s workforce and historic discrepancies in earnings based on a range of demographic characteristics such as gender, urban and coastal communities versus rural and interior communities, educational attainment and unionization.
“A critical first step toward prosperity is making sure that Maine workers and low-income households do not lose further ground,” Martin adds. “Policymakers must focus on stabilizing employment and putting more money in the pockets of working Mainers immediately through the following actions: provide property tax relief; ensure the minimum wage keeps pace with wage growth; promote job and income security for workers through paid sick leave; invest in education, health care, energy efficiency and critical infrastructure; and award business tax credits only to companies that provide quality jobs.”
MECEP is Maine’s leading non-profit research and policy development organization working toward “a prosperous, fair, and sustainable economy; vital communities; rich civic engagement; and a healthy environment.”
“The State of Working Maine: Choices for the Recession and Beyond” is available online at MECEP’s website.