On Tuesday, January 7, USM Muskie Professor Charles Colgan presented his annual Maine Economic Forecast at “Breakfast with Charlie.” This annual event is hosted by USM Corporate Partners.
In 2013, Colgan told audience members, Maine finally turned the corner, and economic growth will be evident in 2014. Maine, he explained, was late in entering the recession, and lost less than other parts of the country. Now, the state’s recovery is lagging the rest of New England and the U.S. in job recovery and employment growth. He envisions another three years before the state fully recovers the nearly 30,000 jobs that were lost during the recession.
He sees growth sectors in employment coming from professional and business services and the hospitality industry. Construction will show some, but not significant, growth.
Finally, he discussed the demographic challenges facing the state at the end of this decade. With no population growth on the horizon, employers will have to recruit workers from outside Maine. Maine will compete for these workers with Vermont and New Hampshire, who also face the same demographic challenges. Learning to pay nationally competitive wages to attract workers will be a shock to many Maine employers.