Maine's Performance vs. other states (GDP + Employment)

May 1, 2013
Office of Policy and Management
Amanda Rector, State Economist

The two employment charts below (from Glenn Mills at the Maine Department of Labor) provide some helpful information about the recession and economic recovery. The first chart compares job loss/gain since January 2008 for Maine and the US. Maines rate of job loss during the recession was slower than that for the US, and weve had a slower rate of job gain during the recovery. The second chart compares the employment to population ratio for Maine and the US while this ratio has been flat for the US for the past several years, Maine has seen an increase in the share of the population that is employed and the share that is employed is higher.

Maines population is growing much more slowly than that of the US. Maine also has the oldest median age and the highest percentage of white, non-Hispanics of any state in the nation both of which are contributing to Maine's lack of natural population growth (the most recent population estimates actually show more deaths than births). The faster employment growth in the US is simply driven by faster population growth, just enough to keep the share of employed population unchanged. Though Maines job growth has been more modest the last two years it has been faster than population growth.

The industries in which national job growth have been concentrated is important as well. Much of the national job growth has been driven by the energy extraction industries. On April 30, the U.S. Census Bureau released new County Business Patterns data showing that the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector led employment growth with a 12% increase from 2010 to 2011. Maine does not have oil or gas resources. The states with oil and gas, especially where there have been new finds, are seeing higher growth. North Dakota is the clearest example the same County Business Patterns data show North Dakota with the largest percentage gain in establishments, employment, and payroll from 2010 to 2011.

In terms of GDP, Maine saw a decline of about 3% from 2007 (the pre-recession peak) to 2009 (the trough of the recession), ranking us 23rd of 51 (Washington, DC is included in the data). From 2009 to 2011 (the most recent data available), Maine has seen an increase of just 0.04%, ranking us 50th of 51. Overall, from 2007 to 2011, Maine has seen a decline of 2.92%, ranking us 41st of 51. The relationship between energy extraction states and higher growth also holds true for the GDP data. North Dakota had the highest GDP growth both during the recession and recovery periods. Several of the other top GDP-growth states also have a larger-than-average share of energy extraction-related industry. Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming are some examples. Without the energy extraction states, Maines performance is more reasonable compared to the rest of the nation.

Maine's lower rate of jobloss and lower rate of recovery

From the March 2013 report by Glenn Mills for the Census Economic Forecasting Commission (

job growth for maine employment is up while flat for the US

From the March 2013 report by Glenn Mills for the Census Economic Forecasting Commission (