Business and Economy

Business news

A new analysis finds that Maine could add more than 2,000 jobs through aggressive participation in the region's emerging offshore wind industry.

The study from the nonprofit American Jobs Project was co-authored by Ryan Wallace, director of the University of Southern Maine's Center for Business and Economic Research.

“Maine has some competitive advantages in innovation, industry development, as well as industry clusters that could support a supply chain,” Wallace says.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

It wasn't your typical job fair.

More than 60 people came to the event in Biddeford Thursday in the hopes of finding an employer willing to give them a chance. These job seekers are all in recovery for substance use disorders.

U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree’s effort to block a federal plan to drill offshore for oil and gas has failed on Capitol Hill.

The Interior Department announced last year that it planned to allow exploratory offshore drilling, prompting Pingree to propose a budget amendment that would have blocked the use of any funds appropriated to the agency to implement that plan.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Central Maine Power (CMP) and a group of stakeholders in the western region of Maine, where the company wants to build a major new transmission line, have struck a mitigation deal worth up to $22 million.

Insurance companies in Maine that will offer individual health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace next year are proposing premium increases from about 5 to 9 percent. 

Maine-based independent health policy consultant Mitchell Stein says that's better than projections from the Congressional Budget Office, "which estimated that some of the actions of the administration would add at least 10 percent to the rates for this year."

Airbnb, a San Franciso-based global travel organization, announced Monday that it has remitted $5.3 million in taxes on behalf of Maine’s host community since its tax agreement with the state went into effect a year ago.

Andrew Kalloch, a public policy manager for Airbnb, said the company’s tax collection program offers a seamless process for individuals and families who share their home to make ends meet while providing a valuable source of revenue to the state.

Four farms and rural businesses in Maine will receive help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to install solar power panels.

The USDA Rural Development money will pump more than $65,000 into businesses in Bowdoinham, Freeport and Cumberland. All of the businesses are using the money to install solar arrays.

Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the money will help the businesses assuage high energy expenses with renewable power sources. The funds will go to Blue Bell Farm and Six River Farm in Bowdoinham, Autowerkes Maine in Freeport and Vanir Properties in Cumberland.

New England's clam harvest is in decline, and people who want to save it are encouraging the industry to try turning to a new model _ farming.

Fishermen have harvested soft-shell clams from coastal mud in Maine and other states for hundreds of years. But threats such as growing populations of predators drove Maine's harvest to its lowest total since the 1930s last year.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Maine’s U.S. congressional delegation is working to ensure that U.S. trade representatives will protect the Maine lobster industry from future tariff wars.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin are meeting with trade representatives Friday in Portland to discuss the European Union’s recent tariff break for importing Canadian lobster.

Maine Stores Spared In Latest Round Of Sears, Kmart Closings

Jun 1, 2018
Lori Valigra / Bangor Daily News

Sears Holdings, the suburban Chicago-based entity that controls Sears and Kmart, has spared its stores in Maine from closing after announcing this morning it would close 72 additional stores.

On Thursday, the company released a list of stores targeted for closure in early September. A Sears Holdings spokesman said the number of employees affected by the closures is not available.

Massive Solar Project Planned Near Wind Farm In Coastal Maine

May 31, 2018
Bill Trotter / Bangor Daily News

An energy development company is requesting a zoning change for more than 700 acres of blueberry fields in eastern Hancock County where it hopes to establish a 100-megawatt solar farm.

MACHIAS, Maine - Maine regulators plan to allow the state's sea urchin harvesters to spend the same number of days collecting the spiny creatures in the coming season.

Maine urchin harvesters are divided into two zones covering the eastern and western coasts. The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it plans to allow fishermen on the western coast to fish up to 15 days and their counterparts on the eastern coast to fish up to 38.

Those are both the same number of days as the 2017-18 season. The season stretches from September to March.

There was little change last month in the labor markets of Maine’s largest urban areas.  The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a .1 percent decline in joblessness in each of the three regions:  Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn, and Portland-South Portland.  

The unemployment rate in Bangor now stands at 3 percent, Lewiston-Auburn at 2.8 percent and Portland-South Portland 2.4 percent.  The statewide unemployment rate in April was 3.1 percent.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Revenues for the state of Maine came in $55 million above estimates in April, increasing the surplus to nearly $71 million with two months left to go in the budget year.

State officials say Maine companies and individual taxpayers paid more in final tax payments in April than expected, fueling the significantly higher than expected revenues. 

“We are seeing such consistent growth on that line at this point that unless something significant changes in the near future, you can attribute it to real growth in the economy,” says state Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous.

PORTLAND, Maine - Some Central Maine Power customers are organizing a class action lawsuit against the utility concerning high power bills experienced last winter.
CMP Ratepayers Unite said in a statement Monday attorneys representing the group had retained a New York-based firm to help prepare the suit. The Portland Press Herald reports over 1,000 customers saw high winter power bills during the same period the utility company had billing system problems.