Report Paints Picture Of Maine's Economy
WABI TV5 - Rob Poindexter
March 6th, 2012
Augusta - A report designed to take the temperature of the Maine economy was released Tuesday.
Governor LePage's Senior Economic Advisor called the report a bold call to action. Tuesday at the State House, the Maine Econonomic Growth Council released it's Measures of Growth In Focus Report. The report measures Maine's long term economic growth and sustainability using 25 indicators.
According to the report, Maine's per capita personal annual income was $36,717. That ranks 31st in the country, down one spot from last year. The council predicts that Maine will climb to 25th by 2015, but Maine ranks last in per capita annual income in New England. Connecticut is number one in the nation, with Massachusetts coming in second, and New hampshire ninth nationally.
The council gives gold stars in areas where Maine excels. According to the report Maine's international exports are booming. "We saw actually a decline in this measure in 2009," said Coucil Co-chair Tim Hussey. "In 2010 it rebounded. We saw an increase of 13%, nearly $3.6 billion, in international exports out of the state of Maine, led by electronics and forest products."
The cost of energy also scored high enough to earn a gold star. According to the council, the cost of electricity for both retail and industrial markets fell in Maine.
The report also highlights areas where the state needs improvement with red flags. For the third straight year research and development expenditures and transportation infrastructure received low marks, as did health care costs. 4th grade reading levels also fell. Only 32%, or 1 out of 3, 4th graders are reading at a proficient level. "We cannot produce the type of workforce that we need until we invest in our children," Hussey said. "And this means investing in the from birth right through our education system."
Copies of the report were presented to Senate President Kevin Raye, Speaker of the House Robert Nutting, and the governor's office. Raye says this study only takes a snapshot of where maine stood economically in 2009 and 2010. "These measures we've been given today are really a vindication of the agenda that we've been pursuing here in Augusta," Raye said Tuesday. Raye says he's anxious to see next years report which will showcase many of the steps taken by lawmakers to fix Maine's struggling economy. "We're doing everything we can to foster job creation in the private sector," Raye said. "That has so much impact across a range of issues, including how our children do in school. We know that poverty is a real hindrance to children and their ability to learn."
Copies of the report are available at the Maine Development Foundation's website. www.mdf.org