Maine slipped on some key financial development indicators over the previous 12 months, however restoration from the pandemic and ensuing recession might current a possibility for the state to enhance, in line with a brand new report from the Maine Financial Development Council.
The Measures of Development report lays out how Maine performs on 29 indicators in contrast with different U.S. states and New England neighbors. The report is produced by the nonpartisan council yearly.
Because the report was being compiled, Maine and the nation have been coping with consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed lots of of individuals within the state, upended the economic system and altered how folks expertise their on a regular basis lives.
Regardless of the seismic affect of the pandemic, the report’s authors discover causes for optimism in its wake. The pandemic has laid naked inequities in dwelling requirements between folks of colour and white Mainers, and made clear the significance of early childhood training.
But it surely additionally highlighted the attraction the state’s high quality of life has for out-of-state professionals and the way new innovation and analysis can align with Maine’s conventional strengths.
“This report displays the teachings and challenges of 2020 whereas additionally highlighting the chance of Maine’s modern spirit, resilience and collaborative mindset,” stated Council Chairman Steve Von Vogt in a press release.
Within the face of disruption and misery, the report “is extra vital than ever in serving to us perceive Maine’s long run belongings and challenges, so we prioritize and maintain the investments that may assist us recuperate and return to prosperity.”
The report is vital as a result of it tracks indicators over time and consists of facets exterior conventional financial evaluation, stated Yellow Gentle Breen, government director of the Maine Growth Basis, the nonprofit that helps set up the report.
“It’s not sufficient to develop jobs and wages for their very own sake except you possibly can protect the particular attributes of group and surroundings that give Maine such an ideal high quality of life within the first place,” Breen stated in an interview. “These are huge, advanced points to maneuver the pattern line on.”
The council determined so as to add two new indicators this 12 months: racial/ethnic earnings fairness and prekindergarten training.
The choice to incorporate info on racial earnings was sparked by the nationwide reckoning with race the nation was going through this spring, Breen stated. Maine is among the whitest states within the nation, however latest inhabitants development is due virtually solely to immigrants who’re folks of colour, he added. Earnings information from 2014-2018 exhibits earnings for folks of colour in Maine is on common 39 % lower than for white residents, in line with the report. Addressing that inequality is crucial to fairness, the state’s economic system and attracting new residents.
“That basically shines an unavoidable statistical highlight on what is going on and challenges all of us to battle with what it means,” Breen stated. Maine, for a very long time “has had a mentality that as a result of folks of colour have been a small proportion of Maine’s inhabitants and Maine’s economic system we haven’t all the time considered it as Maine’s drawback; it clearly is.”
Pre-kindergarten training was included as a result of entry permits mother and father to enter or proceed within the workforce and improves outcomes for kids, Breen stated.
“How are we supporting the employees of right now, and the way are we affecting the youngsters which can be going to be within the workforce?” he stated.
Because the state begins recovering from the pandemic, it is a chance to recenter its priorities on methods, equivalent to Gov. Mills 10-year economic roadmap, that may put together Maine for a future that ties new analysis, growth and innovation to its conventional industries centered across the forest and ocean.
“It’s the intersection of those world traits when it comes to local weather change, life sciences and synthetic intelligence with a variety of Maine’s historic strengths,” Breen stated. “That’s the reason we’re reminiscent of the 10-year financial technique – even with tens of hundreds of Mainers out of labor let’s not lose these insights which can be going to maneuver us ahead.”
The state made measurable progress in 9 indicators – wages, gender earnings fairness, complete employment, prekindergarten training, state and native tax burden, broadband connectivity, security, medical health insurance protection and air high quality.
Three of these classes have been awarded “gold stars” for important progress. Prekindergarten training was singled out as a result of the state has 46 % of 4-year-olds in pre-Okay, effectively above the nationwide and New England averages, in line with the report. Maine additionally ranks as one of many most secure states within the U.S., with against the law fee 43 % beneath the nationwide common. The state’s air high quality can be higher than different Northeastern states.
However Maine slid towards benchmark in 14 areas, together with poverty, gross home product, worldwide exports, entrepreneurship, postsecondary diploma attainment and occupational credentials, price of vitality, transportation infrastructure, housing affordability and wellness and prevention.
9 classes got “pink flags” indicating very low nationwide standing or a longtime pattern towards important decline, together with racial/ethnic earnings fairness.
The state’s workforce declined by 2,900 and its worth added per employee is among the many lowest within the nation. Maine’s analysis and growth expenditure in 2017 was lower than 1 %, forty sixth within the nation. The price of doing enterprise is the seventh highest within the nation, dearer than Rhode Island, New Hampshire or Connecticut. The state’s eighth-grade math scores in 2019 have been 34 %, the identical stage as in 2007 and down from six years in the past.