Business and Economy

Business news

By Beth Brogan, Bangor Daily News 

FREEPORT, Maine — Maine merchants who sell British goods were, like most of the world Friday, still reeling from the news that residents of the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union and said it was too soon to tell how the vote might affect their businesses.

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal fishery regulators say they will be able to offset some, but not all, of the costs of at sea-monitors for New England ground fishermen this year.
At-sea monitors are workers who collect data that help guide fishing regulations. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors from itself to fishermen earlier this year in a decision that was very unpopular with the industry.

PORTLAND, Maine - The personal income of Maine residents grew 1.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The increase was the second-highest in the U.S., and above the national average for personal income growth of 1.1 percent in the first quarter.

Three elements go into the personal income figures: wages people earn, interest and dividends, and benefits received from government, called transfer receipts.

BANGOR, Maine - Maine has more low-wage earners than any other state in the Northeast. That's according to a study by the nonprofit poverty-relief group Oxfam.

"'So 32 percent of Maine workers are currently paid less than $12 an hour," says Mike Tipping, of the Maine People's Alliance, a progressive advocacy group.

KENNEBUNK, Maine - The Kennebunk Light & Power District is surrendering its license for three hydroelectric dams along the Mousam River.
Trustees voted this week to alert federal regulators that they will let the licenses expire in 2022 for Twine Mill Dam, Dane Perkins Dam and Kesslen Dam.
It's unclear whether they'll be removed, or have fish passages added to help fish swimming upriver to spawn.

PORTLAND, Maine - The average price of gasoline in Maine dropped more than three cents in the past week, comparable to what's being seen nationwide.

GasBuddy analyst Gregg Laskoski says that's despite the high demand for gasoline in June. "We know that the Department of Energy has projected a 4 percent increase in fuel consumption this year, and yet even with the increased demand we're seeing retail gasoline prices declining."

Part of the reason for the decline, Laskoski says, is the smooth transition refineries made from producing winter blend gasoline to summer blend.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent in May. The state's jobless rate last month was 3.5 percent, up slightly from April's 3.4 percent.

But the unemployment rate is still down about a percentage point from where it was a year ago.

A usual, the job market was even tighter in greater Portland, where the unemployment rate was just 2.8 percent. Lewiston-Augurn was at 3.4 percent, the Bangor Metro area has a 3.6 percent unemployment rate.

For the first time, an air carrier is making commercial jet service available at the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.

Today, Elite Air begins Friday service to and from Portland, continuing to Islip, New York. There’ll be another Portland flight on Sundays.

Airport Manager Brad Madeira says Thursday and Sunday service to and from Newark begins at the end of the month with continued service to Vero Beach, Florida.


There’s some “trash talk” going on in Penobscot County, centering around a proposed biogas plant in Hampden that plans to convert thousands of tons of municipal waste into a marketable fuel.

A Florida-based attorney who advocates on behalf of American workers says the Tennessee-based insurance company Unum, which has about 3,000 workers in Maine, plans to outsource hundreds of jobs. Unum is neither confirming nor denying the claim.

Innkeepers and restaurant owners say Maine’s secretary of state missed the mark when he wrote up the language for a statewide ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage — and they want him to change it.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap earlier this week released the language for five citizen initiatives for voters to consider in November. That includes one asking voters whether the state’s minimum hourly wage should be raised in annual increments to $12 by 2024 for both workers who receive tips and those who don’t.

Grace Restaurant

By Samuel Shepherd, Bangor Daily News

A Portland restaurateur used her business’s Facebook page to speak her mind on assault weapons — inciting a backlash from gun rights advocates.

Anne Verrill, owner of Grace on Chestnut Street, and Foreside Tavern & Side Bar in Falmouth, published the post on Wednesday, along with a photo of an assault rifle similar to the one used in the Orlando massacre.

The Maine Army National Guard plans to build a $15.5 million, 43,000 square foot regional readiness center in Presque Isle to replace the current facility in Caribou, which houses the 185th Engineer Support Company, a unit of the 133rd Engineer Battalion.

Col. Dwaine Drummond, the Maine Guard’s director of facilities and engineering, says the center in Caribou has reached its life expectancy. He says the new Northern Maine Readiness Center will contain all the administrative support offices for full-time staff.

State revenues were below estimates in May, under projections by about $8 million, but the state is still expected to end the budget year with a surplus.

One of the state’s biggest sources of money, the personal income tax, was more than $11 million off, but Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen says that was a timing issue and that money was made up in the first week of this month.

“Withholding was simply a timing issue between May and June and refunds for the month were running slightly above the projections. Sales tax continued to be strong,” he says.

Polihale / Wikimedia Commons

The latest edition of the Cat ferry between Nova Scotia and Maine docked in Portland for the first time today. Governments in both countries are hoping for its success, though it has also become a target in Nova Scotia politics.