Two graphs tell the unhappy tale of Maine’s job story

With the latest jobs report, the U.S. has now, finally, recovered the jobs lost in the last recession.

When Obama took office, the economy was in free-fall. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited by Politifact:

[In] January 2009, when the president was sworn in, the country lost 818,000 jobs. . . [T]he losses for the first three full months that Obama was in office averaged 738,000 per month. The average job loss for the last three full months of the Bush administration was 651,000.

You can see that huge drop and where we are today in the below graph. (By the way, the bump up and down near the bottom of the recession is from short-term hiring for the 2010 Census.)


Moreover, as the Calculated Risk blog, the source of the above chart, notes, U.S. employment is now at “an all time high.”

Unfortunately, the picture is Maine is not as good

As of the last state jobs report, which includes a little earlier period than the most recent U.S. report, job growth has not only been slower in Maine, but it also been concentrated in a few areas.

As this graph from the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) shows, which also used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Portland area is doing well.


MECEP notes:

4 out of every 5 jobs that Maine employers have added in the last five years have been in the greater Portland area. 

Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn are doing ok.

But the rest of the state is not doing well.

As MECEP notes, since the beginning of the recession, there are “about 13,500 fewer jobs than there were at the beginning of the recession in December 2007. . . Overall, the state as a whole has only recovered about half the jobs it lost as a result of the recession, while the Portland area is now back to pre-recession levels of payroll employment.”

So the rest of the country — and Portland — have gotten back to where they were before the recent recession. Meanwhile, most of the state is hurting.

And blocking Medicaid expansion, in an economy where health care has been a stable and growing sector, doesn’t help Maine jobs come back. Of course, this isn’t the only issue affecting Maine’s economy but, as I said, it doesn’t help.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.