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State employment projections show Maine losing more than 15,000 jobs by 2028

In the decade through 2028, the labor force is expected to become modestly older and smaller — a situation the Dept. of Labor says should not be viewed as a crisis.
Credit: Geri Lavrov via Getty Images
Close-up of hands finding jobs in newspaper with cup in background.

AUGUSTA, Maine — On Tuesday, the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) released its employment projections for the period from 2018 to 2028.

The report, titled 'Employment Outlook to 2028,' highlights the demographic trends in Maine that affect the projected size and rate of change in the state’s employment environment. This latest forecast replaces the prior 10-year forecast for 2016 to 2026, which was published in 2018. 

In this new report, the CWRI is finding:

  • Overall employment in Maine is forecasted to decline between 2018 and 2028 as the number of “baby boomers” reaching traditional retirement age outpaces the number of young people aging into the labor force.
  • More than 750,000 job openings are forecasted in the decade through 2028, which reflects the dynamism in Maine’s labor market.
  • Normal gains in productivity by Maine’s labor force may meet or exceed 100 percent of the demand for products and services of its population, even if overall employment declines as forecast.

"Other than the pandemic, what has changed to cause the forecast to be reduced from little change through 2026 to a decrease of more than 15,000 through 2028? Not much has changed other than the time period. Employment in 2018 was about 10,000 higher than in 2016, so this new forecast starts from a higher base," the report says. "And the forecast for employment in 2028 is modestly lower than it was for 2026, reflecting the fact that more baby boomers will retire in those two additional years."

"In the decade through 2028, the labor force is expected to become modestly older and smaller. This situation should not be viewed as a crisis. There is every reason to believe that continued productivity gains will be enough to meet the needs of a population that is modestly increasing in size," the report says. "We do not yet know the extent to which the pandemic and other factors may prompt people to move to Maine. If there is a large upswing in migration to the state, the size of the labor force may not contract at all."

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