Labor Force

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In 2020, the labor force shrank 3% (20,000 fewer working Mainers).

Unfavorable movement since the last available data

Benchmark: Maine’s labor force will increase to 700,000 by 2030.

Overview Fig. A

Overview

A skilled and educated labor force is essential for a healthy economy. As baby boomers retire, the ranks of working-age Mainers are smaller. Furthermore, many young people are delaying entering the labor force to pursue education and training opportunities. This has contributed to a slow decline in Maine’s labor force, equal to several hundred workers annually since 2010. The number is tiny compared to the 675,000 people in Maine’s labor force in 2020, but it signals the beginning of a disturbing trend.

In 2020, COVID dealt another blow to Maine’s workforce as it shrank by nearly 20,000. In 2021, there are signs of a rebound, albeit slow. The Council supports the goal of Maine’s 10-Year Economic Strategy, which calls for the labor force to increase to about 700,000 by 2030.

To continue growing Maine’s workforce, and counter these trends, Maine must attract more working-age people from other states and countries, retain more of the young people born here, and help more Mainers participate in the workforce.

Fig. A

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Maine's Labor Force

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics