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Maine’s unemployment rate fell by .3 percentage points between January and February to reach 3.2 percent.

State labor economist Glenn Mills says 13 of the last 16 months surveyed show an unemployment rate below 4 percent.

“So all the indicators of a fairly tight labor market are there. There are certainly pockets of weakness — in much of Northern Maine, the challenges in the forest economy and the like — but certainly from central Maine south it’s a fairly tight labor market,” he says.

Mills says there’s nothing very surprising in the latest numbers.

There’s a sales agreement in place between the Scarborough Downs harness racing track in southern Maine and a prospective buyer.

Scarborough Downs spokesman Mike Sweeney says the prospective buyer, whom he was not authorized to name, is doing due diligence and nothing has been finalized.

Meanwhile, harness racing is set to continue in Scarborough.

“We are opening up our live racing season tomorrow so Saturday, we’re racing Saturday and Sunday with a 1:30 post time,” Sweeney says.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

BANGOR, Maine - Maine's maple industry seems to be off to a decent start, with no significant problems foreseen, as the state prepares to celebrate its 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday.

"Last year, you know, the season had  675,000 gallons, and that's up from 315,000 gallons in 2010," says Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry spokesman John Bott.

Bott says the trend for the last six years has been one of steadily increasing effort across Maine, with the number of taps increasing by 26 percent over the period.

Maine's Cod Fishermen Have Worst Year in History

Mar 24, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

ROCKPORT, Maine - The cod isn't so sacred in Maine anymore.
 
The fish-and-chips staple was once a critical piece of the state's fishing industry, but state records show 2016 was historically bad. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds (77,110 kilograms) of the fish to land in Maine last year. That was below the previous record low of 250,000 pounds (113,398 kilograms) a year earlier.
 
Maine's record year for cod was 1991, when fishermen brought more than 21 million pounds (9.5 million kilograms) to the docks.
 

Officials with the Maine Department of Labor says they are working with an out-of-state vendor and law enforcement to determine how to protect Mainers whose personal information may have been stolen during a recent breach.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Finding a pack of blueberries these days is as easy as pie — they’re plentiful in both the fresh and frozen sections of the supermarket. But while the supply is high, the market price has taken a dive, and that has growers feeling blue.

State regulators are asking a biomass electricity company to explain why it’s not paying loggers for fuel, even though it received a state subsidy for that purpose.

Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures.

But loggers say one company that won a bid for the subsidy isn’t paying its debts.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine — The federal government is shutting down scallop fishing in a key New England fishing area amid an ongoing conflict over the harvest of the valuable shellfish.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration closed the northern Gulf of Maine area at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. The agency says the total allowable catch for the area has been harvested.

Small boats have been in conflict with big boats in the area. The government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat fisheries, though they work some of the same areas.

February saw a hike in real estate values in Maine compared to the year before, but a decline in the number of homes sold.

The Maine Association of Realtors says the statewide median was up 12.5 percent to $180,000 during the month of February. However, sales eased almost 13 percent.

Association President Greg Gosselin says stormy weather last month had an effect on sales numbers, as did this not being a leap year. He says a major contributor to the price increase is tight inventory.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

Some Maine fishermen say that they’ve always been at a disadvantage when trying to compete with their Canadian counterparts. Now, the Maine lobster industry is weighing a pending trade agreement between Canada and the European Union that could adversely affect lobster prices in Maine.

A broad coalition of solar power businesses, environmental advocates and industrial energy users want state regulators to reconsider new rules for solar power adopted earlier this year. But the move may just be a prelude to litigation — or legislative action.

In January Maine’s Public Utilities Commission ordered a 15-year ramp-down of credits rooftop solar users can earn when they put excess electricity on the power grid, often called “net metering.”

Andrew Catalina / Maine Public

A new report released by the Maine Brewers’ Guild is projecting growth of nearly 40 percent next year as the number of Maine’s craft brewers continues to grow.

State officials are applauding a decision by Amazon to begin collecting and remitting Maine sales tax beginning April 1.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais says Maine businesses can go toe-to-toe with the very best out-of-state companies provided they are competing on an equal playing field.

In a written statement Monday afternoon, Gervais says that Amazon’s decision is an important first step in leveling the playing field.

WESTBROOK, Maine - Maine-based Idexx Laboratories Inc. is being added to the NASDAQ-100 Index, months after being added to the Standard and Poor's 500.

CEO Jonathan Ayers said Monday that he's pleased Idexx is on the NASDAQ list alongside growth-oriented companies "who are innovators of the modern economy.''

Idexx was added to the Standard and Poor's 500 stock index in January. The announcement that it's joining the NASDAQ-100 index and two other NASDAQ indexes was made before the market opened Monday.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine entrepreneur David Stone is hoping new computer software will help the movement toward an old value:  locally-produced food.     

"I believe that we're seeing a resurgence, a rebirth of the small, independent grocer, butcher and farmer,” Stone says.  “And I, also - looking at the trend data - see that millennials, like several of the people that work with me, this is what they want:  to buy closer to the source."

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