The growth of Maine’s economy is one of the state’s highest priorities, according to Governor Mill’s strategic economic development plan unveiled today at Rubbins Lumber, Searsmont.
The non-partisan plan, which is the first of its kind in more than two decades, aims to foster collaboration among the public, private, non-profit and education sectors to grow and diversify Maine’s economy. It establishes three overarching goals, recommends seven core strategies and then outlines numerous concrete actions to achieve that growth.
“Maine stands at an economic cross-roads. Our traditional industries – farming, Forestry and fishing – have laid a strong economic foundation for our state and the time has come for us to build on that,” said Governor Mills. “This strategic plan creates a roadmap to foster, collaborate, drive innovation, jumpstart growth and ultimately, achieve a diverse forward-looking economy that offers everyone an opportunity to succeed. Out of it, I hope that our state will become a hub of innovation and excellence – a place where people can establish roots and lie happy and fulfilling lives and where entrepreneurs can take risks, grow their businesses and create jobs. Manie, like any state, has its challenges, but we also have great opportunities – and because of that, I have great hope for our future.”
The plan comes as the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – a critical measure of economic growth – has increased at only a third of the rate of the rest of the US over the past ten years. Meanwhile, the average annual earnings in the private sector – how much Maine people get paid has fallen to 78% of the national average and the average job in Maine produces about $88,000. in net sales while the national average is $120,000. It also comes as more people are expected to retire than enter the labor force in the coming decade. When taken together – lackluster economic growth, slow wage growth and the prospect of a further, dwindling workforce – present serious challenges that threaten the success of our state.
However, the plan confronts three challenges head-on by establishing three overarching goals: 1) growing the average annual wage by 10 percent; 2) increasing the value of products sold per worker by 10 percent and 3) attracting 75,000 people to Maine’s talent pool.
To accomplish these goals, the plan then outlines seven core strategies that aim to grow talent in Maine, attract new talent to the state, promote innovation, improve connectivity, bolster infrastructure, maintain a stable business environment and promote hubs of excellence according to a press release from the Governor’s office.