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May 5, 2024 2024 Work for ME

Manufacturers Association of Maine

Manufacturing has grown faster in Maine than U.S. in the past five years

Photo / Courtesy of MAME
Mike Roughton

The Manufacturers Association of Maine (MAME) is once again pleased to be a part of the Work for ME publication, as we have been since its inception. Our partnership with Mainebiz has helped to advance our manufacturing advocacy mission in a very tangible way.

The last year has been a remarkably busy and engaging one for the Manufacturers Association and included a physical move of our offices to Augusta. This move represents two key pillars of our efforts, striving to bring more value-added services to our members, and collaborating with those in the manufacturing ecosystem to advance the causes of manufacturing, and foster growth of our very entrepreneurial base. To this end our new office is collocated with the Maine MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) whose mission to serve the needs of small and medium sized manufacturers directly aligns with MAME’s. The opportunity to be physically closer has already paid many dividends, the brightest example of which is our joint effort to restart in-person tours of manufacturing sites, providing Maine manufacturers a front row seat to the splendid work being accomplished by their peers.

Much to many people’s surprise, manufacturing has been growing in Maine, and in fact has grown faster than the nation over the last five years — manufacturing GDP in Maine grew 10.2% from Q1 2019 to Q3 2023, while in the U.S. overall it grew just 4.7%. Between 2019 and 2023, manufacturing employment grew roughly 3% and wages grew 18% as well, which is why 10.7% of Maine’s weekly payroll generated is for manufacturing sector participants, grounded in an average salary of $65,675. . . an 11.3% premium to the average annual wage across all sectors, according to the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information.

However, even with a compelling story to tell regarding the opportunities that exist in Maine’s manufacturing economy, manufacturers across the state continue to identify the challenge in finding sufficient people to staff and support their growth ambitions as their biggest. As a consequence, the Manufacturers Association has gone to work providing support to manufacturers facing recruitment and retention challenges, building internship and apprenticeship programs for young people interested in manufacturing careers, and generally using its network of affiliated organizations to not only solve today’s issues, but build a framework for a sustainable employee pipeline for the future. In addition to the workforce development issues, the MAME network of member companies assist in everything from strategic plan and succession development, to sales and marketing revitalization, to lean and other process based improvement opportunities. The strength of the MAME model is clear, enabling member companies to shorten the path to improvement and growth by learning from each other and working together.

To strengthen the foundation for that growth, MAME has an aggressive advocacy posture, working to assure that at the legislature in Augusta, and with the young people of Maine and their parents, we are presenting both the challenges and the opportunities in manufacturing, in order to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for many years to come.