Economic & Demographic Trends: Maine & Portland

Arlington

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It is really great to have such an active Portland / Greater Maine forum!

How do positive, upbeat, active project images "fit with" the kinda downbeat underlying 2016 to 2026 forecast
Maine will loose 10% of its "under 19" population by 2016 to 2026
Maine will lose 6% of its working age population
the 65+ population will surge 37%

Is Vacationland becoming Retireeland? Does that "work" as a development strategy?

I"m not a "second home" kinda guy, but it is interesting to me that those Boston Area families I know who have second homes tend to avoid NH (taxes) and vote evenly for RI (Newportish), ME (shore or "cabin"), or VT (skiing), and we do see new flights to the Jetport and BGR and "Greater Acadia" which seem leisure oriented.

Is there something else that's going to power Maine's next 20 years besides leisure? Does there need to be?

What is the future "business of Maine?"
 

FitchburgLine

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Great thread premise. For some basic data, Portland ME (municipal boundaries) had 66,090 residents in July 2010 and 66,417 in July 2018. So no decline (which is the norm for postindustrial cities in northern New England), but very slow growth.
 

cneal

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It's definitely a "two Maines" situation. That forecast document you linked to breaks down more detailed projections by county: York and Cumberland (in southern Maine, the Portland metro area) are forecast to grow, albeit pretty slowly, while the rest of the state shrinks. Even within those counties, I'd expect to see growth concentrated in urban areas and population declines in more rural areas and outlying suburbs.

This outlook also assumes a constant rate of births, deaths and migration extrapolated out from 2016 rates, but in reality, domestic in-migration has been on the rise in recent years, and could well increase if these other trends continue to boost demand for new workers and make Maine more affordable relative to the rest of New England.
 

markhb

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A lot of the recent growth in Portland has been $500k+ condos (with over a million not unheard of), and I can guarantee that virtually no one with that kind of money is going to be staring at the Berlin Mills Wharf in February. So I think, if not retirees, the new housing is going to be owned by, shall we say, people with options,
 

Cosakita18

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Portland is definitely a different case than the rest of the state in terms of demographics, and it remains a relatively popular location for millennials/ GenZers.

That being said, economic development in Portland right now is very (and in my view, unsustainability) geared towards leisure. Portland struggles to attract large national companies (although that Is slowly starting to change) and most business growth tends to be from smaller companies. The city does also have a fairly robust start-up sector.

My controversial opinion is that Portland has peaked as a "hot" tourism destination, and we'll gradually start to see declines in visitors over the next 5 years. The tourism growth we have now is not sustainable.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I don't think Portland needs to attract large national companies. Big companies moving cities is not as feasible as it once was, unless there are major tax breaks and other financial incentives involved. Maine and Portland cannot compete on that level.

What Portland has been doing well, and will likely continue to do well, is being a bit of an incubator for small companies. Some of those companies could eventually grow to become large national companies, and that is a much more likely scenario than a big national company pulling up their stakes and moving here (or moving a big part of the operations here).

One thing that I think get's lost in the data, and thus projections, are employees working remotely. I know for a fact that the Greater Portland area has been drawing lots of telecommuters from other parts of the Northeast (particularly the NYC area) over the past decade, and sometimes those employees don't get included in some of the data and projections given how their employers track them. For instance, I work from home, but I'm tied to my company's New Hampshire office.
 

Cosakita18

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I don't think Portland needs to attract large national companies. Big companies moving cities is not as feasible as it once was, unless there are major tax breaks and other financial incentives involved. Maine and Portland cannot compete on that level.

What Portland has been doing well, and will likely continue to do well, is being a bit of an incubator for small companies. Some of those companies could eventually grow to become large national companies, and that is a much more likely scenario than a big national company pulling up their stakes and moving here (or moving a big part of the operations here).

One thing that I think get's lost in the data, and thus projections, are employees working remotely. I know for a fact that the Greater Portland area has been drawing lots of telecommuters from other parts of the Northeast (particularly the NYC area) over the past decade, and sometimes those employees don't get included in some of the data and projections given how their employers track them. For instance, I work from home, but I'm tied to my company's New Hampshire office.

You're definitely right there. I think Portland can focus on attracting and incubating small-medium sized companies, and we have had some success in doing that in recent years (Covetrus, Guideline, Foreside Financial, Certify, ect) These are companies that are either being priced out of more expensive markets, or have put down roots here and benefited from what Portland has to offer. I can see a lot of potential for Boston/NYC based companies to expand and move their back-end operations to Portland. Compared to the rest of the state, we have a younger and more highly-skilled workforce, and our high quality of life is a big draw for people from larger cities who want a change of pace.

As someone who grew up in far northern Maine, it's amazing how stark of a demographic and socioeconomic contrast exists between northern and southern Maine. I think it's safe to say that if it were not for Portland, the state would be in a prolonged recession right now.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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Oneup

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Not surprised that young people are gonna move out.
I myself will get out of this city after high school.
 

TC_zoid

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I travel a lot for my work: L.A., Las Vegas, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta, Nashville, Miami, NYC, and Boston (to a degree). All of these cities have thriving economies along with significant Hispanic populations. Hispanic peoples, in general, have a strong family and work ethic. It's why a company like Apple is hiring 15,000 workers for its new manufacturing facility in Austin. Not all of those jobs are highly skilled. My implication for Maine's solution is obvious, but sad to say, it will never happen. Today's Maine Biz Journal features an article with Mills pushing (hoping) for a stronger state economy. A strong economy needs the relatively unskilled jobs too. Hope is pointless without proper action.


It is really great to have such an active Portland / Greater Maine forum!

How do positive, upbeat, active project images "fit with" the kinda downbeat underlying 2016 to 2026 forecast
Maine will loose 10% of its "under 19" population by 2016 to 2026
Maine will lose 6% of its working age population
the 65+ population will surge 37%

Is Vacationland becoming Retireeland? Does that "work" as a development strategy?

I"m not a "second home" kinda guy, but it is interesting to me that those Boston Area families I know who have second homes tend to avoid NH (taxes) and vote evenly for RI (Newportish), ME (shore or "cabin"), or VT (skiing), and we do see new flights to the Jetport and BGR and "Greater Acadia" which seem leisure oriented.

Is there something else that's going to power Maine's next 20 years besides leisure? Does there need to be?

What is the future "business of Maine?"
 

Arlington

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Are New Balance shoes still made in Maine (and England)?
 

mainejeff

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Forget about immigration in this political climate. Looks like Maine's 70-something & 80-something year olds better get back to work!
 

Rover

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Maine is a beautiful state that I've been vacationing in all my life, as a kid with my parents, then with my wife when we were dating and now with my own kids. I would expect coastal tourism to remain strong from Kittery to Bar Harbor.

But I don't think that's enough to sustain the state. Anecdotally I know multiple people from Maine at my job who relocated to Boston and elsewhere in search of jobs otherwise they'd still be there. Portland and southern Maine should try to link itself as best it can to the Boston economy starting with more frequent train service. In addition they should be chatting up Mass based businesses to set up satellite operations in and around Portland. When you think of what is New England's 2nd city, what comes to mind? Worcester and Providence may have a let up given their closer proximity to Boston but Portland seems like it has a better reputation right now. Need to capitalize on that quickly before it fades away (Worcester for example is making a big effort).
 

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