Maine State Capitol in the reflection from the Cross Building. Photo by Ramona du Houx
By Ramona du Houx
Maine’s job growth continues to lag the behind the rest of the nation as new monthly numbers were released today. According to the State's Department of Labor, Maine lost 900 jobs in July, while jobs grew nationally and in the region.
Based on these most recent numbers, under Governor Paul LePage, Maine has only created 17,000 jobs, recovering just 58 percent of the jobs lost since the recession. Most of thoses jobs created came from companies taking atvantage of Maine's Pine Tree Development tax incentive package set up by the Baldacci Adminstration. Meanwhile, New England has recovered 124 percent while the nation as whole has recovered 108 percent.
“The Governor should be honest with Maine people about our job growth. While our neighboring states, and states around the country have jump-started their economies, Maine has still not recovered the jobs it lost in the recession,” said State Senator Justin Alfond. “If Maine had seen average growth since the Governor took office, we would have 12,600 more jobs by now. The Governor has put ideology ahead of job growth at every turn.”
Governor LePage tanked a $120 million project when he rejected Statoil--an international clean energy innovator who was ready to put Maine on the international map with a cutting edge legacy industry that would have created hundreds of jobs and pumped millions of dollars in to our economy. Statoil has since invested $2.5 billion in a U.K. project that was previously destined for Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Additionally, LePage is the only Governor in the country who vetoed five bills to increase access to life-saving health care under the Affordable Care Act, turning down nearly $1 million per day in economic investment in the state. According to the Maine Center of Economic Policy, MECP, the federal investment in health care would have created and saved 4,4,00 jobs in Maine.
LePage’s office also continues to tout the employment-to-population job growth, which shows the growth in jobs compared to the state’s population. According to MECP the trend indicates that older workers are being forced to return to the workforce or delay retirement in order to make ends meet. From 2009 to 2013, Maine’s 55-and-older population is responsible for most of the increase in Maine’s employment-to-population growth.
“Older adults in Maine are feeling less secure in their retirement,” said House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick, who has made the challenges facing Maine’s aging population a top priority. “It’s a real problem when our job growth engine is being fueled on the backs of seniors who are forced to delay retirement or even return to the workforce.”
Since LePage took office, Maine has experienced a job creation record among the worst in the U.S., ranking 46th out of 50 states in the latest report (July 2014). Additionally, Maine has the 6th highest rate in the country of people who work only part-time because they can't find full-time jobs.
Under his predicesor Governor John Bladacci over 310 companies recieved Pine Tree Development Status growing thousands of jobs in the state. The jobless rate was under 7 percent, and the state had a surplus.
Now, with LePage the state has had the second worst personal income growth record in the U.S., ranking 49th from 2009 through 2013. Plus, median household income is down $1,600 and $4,600 below the U.S. median.