Maine has a low birth rate and, given our aging population, that trend is unlikely to be reversed soon. By 2020, nearly 1 in 4 Mainers will be age 65 and over. According to the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information 411,000 Maine residents are projected to retire from the labor force in the next two decades. During that same time period only 302,000 workers are projected to replace them, leaving the state with a 109,000 person labor force reduction.1 According to Julie Rabinowitz, a spokeswoman from the state Department of Labor, we are already beginning to experience that shortage. 2
The authors of the Coastal Enterprise study cited above conclude:
“Although Maine’s demographic trends have been extensively publicized, the economic implications of these trends are not was well understood. A rapidly aging population combined with slow population growth means that Maine faces extraordinary demands to replace an aging and retiring workforce. Furthermore, the data also suggest that Maine’s prospects for economic growth will be severely constrained if it is unable to produce the number of workers with the right skills for the dynamic labor market that characterizes modern economies.”1
1 Carla Dickstein, John Dorrer, Elizabeth Love, and Tae Chong, “Building Maine’s Economy: How Maine Can Embrace Immigrants and Strengthen the Workforce”, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., March 2016.
2 Jen Fifield, Stateline.org in Bangor Daily News, May 28, 2016. http://bit.ly/29UTuU9