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June 7, 2021

New study ranks Maine's economy eighth-worst in the US

Courtesy / WalletHub Maine's economy ranked No. 44, or eighth-worst, in a just-released study by WalletHub.

Despite encouraging signs of recovery from the ongoing pandemic, the vitality of Maine’s economy is worse than those of all but seven states, a new analysis says.

The Maine economy ranked No. 44 — the eighth-worst nationally and the worst among Northeast states — in a study released Monday by financial website WalletHub. Maine placed just behind Mississippi, No. 43, and just ahead of Nevada.

The study evaluated each U.S. state and the District of Columbia on the basis of 29 criteria in three categories: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential.

The criteria included factors such as the percentage change in each state’s gross domestic product during 2020, the growth in number of businesses, the share of the population living in poverty, and the per capita level of research and development funding. Recent data was compiled from a variety of federal and industry sources, and the results were graded on a 100-point scale, then rank-ordered.

Maine’s measurement for the general health of its economy, based on 18 of the criteria, placed No. 28 in the U.S. But when it came to economic activity and innovation potential, the state ranked No. 46 and No. 42, respectively.

Even in its bright spot — the economic health category — Maine scored low in at least one factor. The state’s median household income ranked No. 50, the second-lowest after West Virginia’s. Maine’s ranks in other individual criteria were not released.

In the overall ranking, other New England states ranked as follows: Massachusetts, No. 4; New Hampshire, No. 12; Connecticut, No. 21; Vermont, No. 40; and Rhode Island, No. 41.

The three best-ranking states were all in the West: Utah, No. 1, followed by Washington and California.

Hawaii’s economy, which has been crippled by a pandemic-driven downturn in tourism, ranked as the country’s worst, at No. 51. 

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August 2, 2021

How about 44th best economy?

June 10, 2021

It seems studies like this could be somewhat subjective. Does the innovation potential take into consideration proximity to Boston for instance? And statistics like low median income and population living in poverty could be scored as a negative, but in fact could reflect a robust work force waiting for employment. The cost of living in Maine is much more business friendly than highly ranked Washington State. And ask yourself how Texas scored lower the Washington?

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