According to an analysis of the data by the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), “Employment increased in nearly every industry, including the lowest-wage industries, where job losses were predicted by opponents of the minimum wage.”
Maine’s unemployment rate has remained under the national average since the minimum wage law took effect. It never exceeded 3.5 percent in 2017 or 3.4 percent in 2018, reaching its lowest point in April 2018 at 2.6 percent. That is the lowest, longest stretch of unemployment since records have been kept.
MECEP’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that total wages in Maine grew by $587 million in the first half of 2017 — a 4.7 percent increase when compared with the first half of 2016. It was the largest wage increase in Maine since before the 2008 recession.