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Updated: December 11, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: Don’t sleep on Maine’s manufacturing industry

While the number of manufacturing jobs in Maine has fallen from historic levels in the early 1990s — when there were as many as 95,000 workers — the number has rebounded from the low of 45,000 in April 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

There are now an estimated 55,300 manufacturing workers in Maine, by the Fed’s count.

Those workers — and the 1,800 manufacturing firms they represent — generate an annual GDP of $6.2 billion, according to the Manufacturers Association of Maine.

Yet “manufacturing” remains a misunderstood term that many associate with smokestacks and heavy equipment.

Maine’s manufacturing field covers a wide range of industries and sectors, including defense, aerospace, steel, paper, boatbuilding and marine services, semiconductors, wood, textiles, aquaculture, biotech, medical devices, electronics, wireless communications, plastics, composites/bioplastics and food and beverage.

Take, for example, the subject of our cover story, Global Secure Shipping, is producing a new type of shipping container built from high-strength composite materials embedded with advanced sensors. The containers are designed to help fight theft and tampering, as Senior Writer Laurie Schreiber reports. The container uses technology developed at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

“There’s a great deal of interest in utilizing the technology to reduce theft and pilferage and to reduce tampering,” the CEO tells Mainebiz. For more, see Laurie’s story, “Safe passage,” which starts on Page 12.

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