Measures of Growth
Since 1994, MDF’s annual Measures of Growth has tracked 25+ indicators that provide a comprehensive snapshot of how Maine’s economy is faring.
Each year, MDF works with the Maine Economic Growth Council to develop the Measures of Growth Report. The indicators included collectively support the idea that Maine’s quality of life depends upon a vibrant and sustainable economy, thriving communities, and a healthy environment. Past performance and current conditions inform the establishment of future benchmarks for each indicator that are aspirational, potentially attainable and against which we can measure our collective progress.
For 2021, the Council assigns Gold Stars for significant progress in:
We assign Red Flags for needed attention to:
Fundamental Performance Indicators
In 2019, women’s average earnings fell 4% further behind men’s earnings, to 80%.
Maine’s GDP fell 4% in 2020, mirroring declines elsewhere in the U.S.
In 2020, 60.5% of Maine adults were in the labor force, down 2 percentage points.
In 2019, poverty fell about 1%. Official 2020 estimates are not yet available.
In 2015-2019, the average incomes of BIPOC*and Latino or Hispanic Mainers rose but remained 37% below White Mainers, dramatically short of full equity. *Black, Indigenous, People of Color
In 2020, value-added per worker rose 2%, but remained 25% below the U.S. average.
Air Quality+2 Days
In 2020, there were 26 moderately unhealthy days, slightly worse than last year.
In 2019, the growth-to-harvest ratio fell 8% but remained well above the sustainability goal, at 1.27.
The price of industrial electricity fell 0.3¢/kWh in 2020 but still exceeds the U.S. average.
Cost of Health Care-0.7%
In 2020, health care spending dropped to 17.3% of total expenditures, but above-average health care costs are a continuing challenge for Maine.
The share of 8th graders proficient in math dropped slightly and has remained below 40% for decades.
In 2019, the number of business starts exceeded closures by 4%.
In 2019, the share of 4th graders proficient in reading remained at 36%.
In 2020, Maine’s exports fell 14%, similar to the national decline of 13%.
In 2019, 53% of Mainers had a degree or a professional credential, up 2% from 2018 but still below the New England average of 58%.
In 2020-21, the share of schools with a pre-K program rose from 77% to 79%.
COVID highlighted the critical need for high-speed internet but new data show just 18% of Maine locations have access to high-speed service (100 Mbps/100 Mbps).
In 2018-2020, Mainers experiencing food insecurity fell 0.6% to 11.4%. Federal COVID relief may have helped bolster food security in 2020.
In 2019, 92% of Mainers had health insurance, unchanged from 2018.
In 2020, 59% of Maine roads were rated good or fair, about the same as 2019.