State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released April workforce estimates for Maine.
Survey of Households – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.9 percent in April, down slightly from 7.1 percent in March and 7.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 48,600 were unemployed, down 3,100 over the year. The unemployment rate was below 7 percent for the first time since December 2008.
Preliminary unemployment rate estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then move in the opposite direction for several months. This pattern often reflects an estimating methodology rather than improvement or deterioration in conditions. Maine analysts note annual revisions in March 2014 are likely to remove those directional trends, as has been the case in recent years.
Maine had a higher share of employed population than the nation for the 67th consecutive month in April (60.7 percent compared to 58.6 percent for the United States).
The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.5 percent, little changed from 7.6 percent in March and down from 8.1 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate estimate was 6.8 percent; estimates for other states were 5.5 percent in New Hampshire, 4.0 percent in Vermont, 6.4 percent in Massachusetts, 8.8 percent in Rhode Island and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.
Survey of Employer Payrolls – Preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there were 597,400 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, down 400 from the revised March estimate. The estimate of U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs was up 165,000.
May 17, 2013
May 21 2013 | Posted in featured
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AUGUSTA—The decisions Baby Boomers are making now about work and retirement hold important implications for Maine’s workforce and job outlook for years to come. A new report from the Center for Workforce Research and Information details how the state’s slow population growth combined with thousands of workers aging to retirement will slow workforce growth. The report is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/publications/pdf/MaineLaborForceAgingAndGrowingSlowly.pdf .
“Older workers play an important role in Maine’s workforce,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “These workers have a great deal of experience and are valuable employees. However, our economy’s reliance on them also poses a challenge as they move to retirement.
“In order to replace them, Maine needs to grow our workforce through training and education, as well as by attracting skilled workers and families to move to our state,” the Governor said. “We need population growth to fuel our economy.”
Maine is the oldest state in the United States, with a median age of 43.2 years. Currently, 46 percent of private sector workers are at least 45 years old. The report points out that, within the next 20 years, at least 40 percent of the current workforce will be 65 or older.
As a group, the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, began to reach the traditional retirement age of 65 in 2011; the youngest of the group will reach 65 in 2029. Of immediate concern are those who will be eligible to retire during the next ten years who will need to be replaced. The effect of near-term replacement needs depends on the industry; however, all industries will need to replace experienced workers in a variety of occupations.
Two sectors stand out due to the large share of workers 55 and over—the health care and social assistance sector and the education sector (public and private). In addition to high replacement needs, jobs in both of these sectors are expected to increase faster than average between 2010 and 2020.
For projections of job openings by individual occupation, see the Job Outlook to 2020 at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/outlook.html .
The Center for Workforce Research develops and disseminates information on employment, unemployment, and wages; analyzes outcomes of education and training programs to guide decision making; and develops industry and occupational employment forecasts designed to guide career planning and curriculum development. They work with a wide range of customers to provide context to the dynamics of the economy and the implications those have for workforce development.
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage presented today seven Maine companies with the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence at a State House ceremony. The Governor’s Award for Business Excellence has become an emblem of distinction within the business community that recognizes business leaders for their commitment to their communities and contribution to Maine’s economy.
“It’s a true honor to have the opportunity every year to recognize Maine businesses that not only compete nationally and internationally, but that also help Maine keep its reputation for top-quality workmanship and innovation,” said Governor LePage. “As a businessman myself, I understand and respect the opportunities and challenges every business faces. It’s my job as Governor to make state government work more efficiently so all businesses can focus their time and resources on creating good-paying jobs and quality products.”
The 23rd annual awards were administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and sponsored by FairPoint Communications. More than 120 businesses have received the award since its inception in 1991.
“Thanks to this year’s recipients, hundreds of Maine families have financial security in a state that offers a great quality of life,” said DECD Commissioner George Gervais. “Their impact on the Maine economy is recognized and appreciated.”
The seven recipients of the 2013 Governor’s Award for Business Excellence are:
• Falcon Performance Footwear, Auburn – Established in 1963, Falcon began as a manufacturer of children’s shoes, and then moved to industrial footwear in the 1980s. Today, Falcon’s 55 employees manufacture 12 styles of fire boots for its partner, Globe Firefighter Suits of Pittsfield, N.H., and four styles of industrial/mining boots.
• FHC, Inc., Bowdoin – FHC has served the neuroscience community for more than 40 years in its mission to advance cranial micro-targeting worldwide. The FHC facility, which employs more than 100 people, is in a 21,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the former Bowdoin Central School.
• Howie’s Welding & Fabrication, Inc., Jay – Howie’s Welding & Fabrication, Inc. was established in 1983 and has shown continued growth, working in all types of structural steel fabrication. In addition to welding, the 10-employee company runs a paint shop and retail store. Howie’s is also experienced in aluminum, stainless steel and brass welding.
• Lapointe Lumber Company, Gardiner – Lapointe Lumber Company was started in 1947 with little more than a saw mill and wood lot on N. Belfast Avenue in Augusta. Today, Lapointe Lumber employs approximately 30 people and remains a family owned and operated lumber and building material retailer serving the professional contractor, builder, remodeler and retail public of Central Maine.
• Lonza Rockland, Inc., Rockland – Originally established in Rockland as Marine Colloids in the 1960s, today Lonza develops and manufactures products used in life sciences, including basic cellular and molecular biology research, drug discovery and forensics. The Lonza Rockland facility employees 59 people in a mix of engineering, manufacturing, quality and professional roles.
• Norway Savings Bank, South Paris – Norway Savings Bank was founded more than 145 years ago with a commitment to personal values, community values and financial values that have never faltered. Over the years, Norway Savings Bank has grown to serve a wide area throughout western and southern Maine and currently employs more than 250 full-time people.
• TD Bank, Portland – TD Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S. with deep roots in the community dating back more than 150 years. Its Maine presence now includes 54 stores, nearly 3,100 employees and several major office buildings.
“We are proud to recognize businesses and businesspeople that are positively impacting our region by contributing to the economic prosperity of the community and making it a better place to live,” said Governor LePage.
May 3, 2013
AUGUSTA, Maine – The third annual “Feathers over Freeport”, a unique event designed to appeal to birdwatchers of all abilities and especially to families and children—will take place the last weekend in April.
“Feathers over Freeport” will highlight special birding opportunities at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, including the Hawk Watch at the summit, and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, home to nesting ospreys.
Sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Division of Parks and Public Lands and the Freeport Wild Bird Supply, the two-day event will feature a wide variety of activities and presentations, including live-bird presentations, bird walks for adults and children, a hawk watch workshop and numerous children’s activities.
Details of the event are:
Feathers over Freeport:
8 AM to 5 PM, Saturday, April 27, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal
8 AM to 5 PM, Sunday, April 28, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport.
Park entry fees apply; all programs and activities included with park admission.
Two special programs will highlight the event, including a live bird presentation on birds of prey, scheduled for 3 PM, Saturday, April 27, at Bradbury Mountain and a live bird presentation on the extraordinary lives of owls, scheduled for 1 PM, Sunday, April 28, at Wolfe’s Neck. The programs, presented by Hope Douglas of Wind Over Wings, will feature a Golden Eagle on Saturday and a Great Horned Owl on Sunday, as well as other live birds.
New programs this year include a Vernal Pool Exploration on Saturday and a Landscaping for Wildlife presentation on Sunday. Bird-related activities geared toward children and families will be offered both days from 10 AM to 3 PM where birding basics will be presented through games, crafts, and hands-on activities.
For more information about “Feathers over Freeport” and a complete listing of activities, go to: http://www.maine.gov/feathersoverfreeport
Or by calling the parks: Bradbury Mountain State Park at (207) 688-4712 or Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park at (207) 865-4465.
For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf
April 18, 2013
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills has announced that self-professed “handyman” Daniel B. Tucci of Portland, Maine, has been found guilty of numerous violations of Maine’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. In a ruling by Cumberland Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler following a three-day trial, Tucci was ordered to provide more than a quarter of a million dollars in restitution to 14 different victims. Mr. Tucci is permanently barred from operating a handyman or home repair business in the future. If Mr. Tucci fails to make the restitution payments he will also have to pay $140,000 in civil penalties.
“Mr. Tucci’s behavior is truly reprehensible,” Attorney General Mills stated. “He lied about his qualifications. He took money from people and didn’t finish the job. The work he did do on people’s homes was shoddy. Then, when people complained, he harassed and threatened them, threatened to sue them, even calling their work place and berating them.”
Mr. Tucci targeted elderly people in particular and did business under a number of different names in York and Cumberland Counties: “Dan the Handyman,” “Tripol Handyman Services,” “The TrixiePolly Co.,” “TriDan,” “Tripol Construction,” and “T.P.D.F., LLC.”
“The State of Maine will not tolerate these kinds of shoddy business practices. I applaud the court’s decision in this case,” the Attorney General stated.
The Superior Court found that Mr. Tucci falsely advertised his services and qualifications, that he took advance payments and then failed to complete the work, that he provided shoddy and incomplete work and that he refused to correct the work he did or to refund the money paid. The Court also found that he threatened and intimidated customers.
The most egregious example of Mr. Tucci’s business dealings was that he took $80,000 in upfront payments from an elderly couple for a basement renovation; nearly all of the necessary work was left either incomplete or undone. After ending their relationship with Mr. Tucci, the couple was able to have the work corrected for just $14,000 by another contractor – a far cry from the $145,000, Mr. Tucci ultimately charged them.
The Court found that Mr. Tucci falsely advertised himself as a licensed home repair person and handyman. From 2004 to 2012 he advertised his services in York and Cumberland counties, implying that he was competent and licensed in several trades including electrical, masonry, plumbing and oil burner services. In fact, Mr. Tucci holds no professional licenses
Mr. Tucci also took advance payments for work and then failed to complete the work. At the trial, held from January 22 to 25, 2013 in Portland, the court heard from witnesses who testified that Mr. Tucci required payments of half the estimate up front and then was “painfully slow” to do the work. He would often use the delay to persuade homeowners that extra work was required.
When confronted about his shoddy, unworkmanlike or incomplete work, Mr. Tucci refused to give refunds and even threatened his customers. Mr. Tucci went so far as to contact the employer of one customer stating that they “were not fit for employment.” He bullied his customers, constantly telling them, “I know where you live. I will find you. No one does this to me.’”
Attorney General Mills commended Assistant Attorney General Linda Conti, Director of the Consumer Protection Division, and Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Silsby, who prosecuted the case.
No homeowner should be pressured to pay more than a third up front for any home repair job. Consumers should insist on a written contract and should check the references for anyone who offers to perform work on their home.
Maine Consumers who believe they may be the victim of an unfair trade practice can call the Maine Attorney General’s Office with questions.
Consumers can call the specifically dedicated line 1-800-436-2131 or 626-8849 Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – noon and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. In addition to the toll free phone number, consumers can contact the Consumer Protection Division by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by regular mail by writing to: Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, 6 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. The Consumer Protection Division also has a lot of consumer information on the website – www.maine.gov/ag.
April 16, 2013
Attorney General’s Office
Apr 23 2013 | Posted in featured
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AUGUSTA, Maine – Greenhouses, nurseries and garden centers statewide will be celebrating on Saturday, May 4 as the industry kicks off Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day.
For the fourth year, several dozen family-owned businesses will hold special events to highlight the fun and joy of gardening in Maine. Planned activities for the events include giveaways, door prizes, raffles, plants and balloons for children, container-planting demonstrations, personal tours, expert speakers and mini workshops. Participating greenhouses and nurseries also will preview spring introductions and share their expertise by offering gardening tips, information on plant varieties and ideas for window box and landscape design.
“Greenhouse and Nursery Day helps highlight the importance of horticulture to Maine’s economy,” Governor Paul R. LePage said. “In addition to providing thousands of jobs, the horticulture industry contributes over $280 million annually to Maine’s economy.”
“More than half of the plants sold in Maine are grown right here, and our greenhouses and nurseries work hard to promote the sale of their product locally,” said Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “I encourage Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to visit their local garden centers on May 4 and enjoy the wonderful fun and educational events being offered.”
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry licenses and inspects more than 1,307 businesses selling plants in Maine. The Department also certifies plant exports, regulates imported plants and assists growers with plant pest problems.
Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day is supported by the Ornamental Horticulture Council and the Mid-Maine Greenhouse Growers Association.
For more information about Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day, go to: http://www.plants4maine.com/GreenhouseAndNurseryDay.shtml
April 12, 2013
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
PRESQUE ISLE—The Presque Isle CareerCenter is co-sponsoring a Career Fair on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Event Center, 150 Maysville Street in Presque Isle.
“This is a great showcase of Aroostook County’s employers,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “I encourage anyone looking to change careers or get a new job to participate and meet the employers that make our state ‘Open for Business’.”
Employers representing the healthcare, finance, agricultural, manufacturing, education, criminal justice, technology and other industries will be attending. A sample of employers recruiting at the fair includes Lane Construction, Lucerne Farms, Naturally Potatoes, the Maine State Police, Irving Woodlands, Maine Staffing, Acme Monaco, Sears, Maurices, TEMPO, McCain Foods, Pines Health, U.S. Border Patrol, Louisiana Pacific, Defense Finance Accounting Services, the Maine Department of Transportation, Aroostook Agency on Aging, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, National Able, the Aroostook County Action Program, the Social Security Administration, University of Maine at Presque Isle and Husson University.
A veterans’ outreach representative will be available to meet with veterans of any age interested in employment and training opportunities. The event will also feature several other organizations that can assist job seekers or those considering changing careers in determining what careers are appropriate for them. These institutions will provide information on training and higher-education opportunities.
Attendees should bring a resume and, more important, should be prepared to have an “interview-like” conversation with employers to discuss skills, knowledge areas and abilities. Job seekers should also be dressed for an interview.
The event is sponsored by the Presque Isle CareerCenter and the Maine Department of Labor, the Northern Maine Development Commission, the Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Event Center and the Northern Maine Asset Coalition.
CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, offer a variety of workshops and services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O’Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are free of charge.
Call (207) 760-6300 or 1-800-635-0357 (TTY users call Maine Relay 711) for additional information and to register for workshops held at the CareerCenter. The CareerCenter, located at 66 Spruce Street in Presque Isle, ME 04769, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also find more information at the CareerCenter website,http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
April 4, 2013
State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released February workforce estimates for Maine.
Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data
Survey of Households – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 7.3 percent in February, unchanged from January and one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 51,700 were unemployed, down 300 over the year. The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January and 8.3 percent one year ago.
When comparing unemployment rates it is important to be aware of what underlies them. Maine continues to have higher labor force participation than the nation. If the U.S. labor force participation rate were as high as the Maine average, the national unemployment rate would be near ten percent.
Because differences in labor force participation skew unemployment rates, the employment to population ratio provides a better basis for comparing workforce conditions to the nation. Maine had a higher share of employed population than the nation for the 65th consecutive month in February (60.3 percent compared to 58.6 percent for the U.S.).
(NOTE: The labor force participation rate is the share of the population age 16+ working or actively seeking work. Jobless people not looking for work are not counted as unemployed and are not in the labor force. The employment to population ratio is the share of the population age 16+ that is employed.)
The unemployment rate estimate for New England was 7.0 percent; estimates for other states were 5.8 percent in New Hampshire, 4.4 percent in Vermont, 6.5 percent in Massachusetts, 9.4 percent in Rhode Island and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.
Survey of Employer Payrolls – Preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there were 598,100 nonfarm payroll jobs in February, up 2,300 from the revised January estimate. The estimate of U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs was up 236,000.
(NOTE: When using nonfarm payroll jobs estimates, it is important to know that they tend to be volatile from month to month. When estimates for the period from October 2012 to September 2013 are replaced with actual payroll data in March 2014, they are likely to show less volatility.)
Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data
The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in February, down from 8.5 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 6.3 percent in Cumberland County to 12.9 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.
The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (6.7 percent), Bangor (7.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (7.8 percent). This release is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html. Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas; nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas; and much more data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html .
March data will be released Friday, April 19.
March 29, 2013
Apr 1 2013 | Posted in featured
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Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.
Our first education conference was a great success, and I would like to thank everyone who participated. One of those participants was Mohamed Nur. He is a sophomore at Deering High School in Portland. He is a high honors student, a Maine Seeds of Peace leader, and he is very enthusiastic about his future.
But Mohamed noticed that not all students were as eager as he is to learn. So, he asked his peers why. The answer surprised him. He was told that they were uninterested in class because they didn’t like how or what they were being taught.
That answer led to a dialogue between Mohamed and his classmates. And that conversation is one every superintendent, principal, teacher, and parent should engage in, too. How do we motivate our students to learn?
A quality education is critical to any child’s well-being and future success. The status quo no longer works. Accountability, best practices and multiple options will help Maine students excel.
First, we must create a system with accountability. By measuring school performance and providing assistance to struggling schools, we can improve achievement.
High-performing states like Florida put accountability and improvement systems in place to identify schools needing support and then provide them with the tools and resources to succeed. In this legislative session, we’re proposing similar reform in Maine.
Options must be available to students and parents. In other words, they need choice. Giving students more learning options and the ability to determine what school is best suited for them will enhance every student’s public education.
Further, we must look at best practices. Many states and countries’ educational systems have yielded proven results, and we should learn from these lessons.
Maryland, Massachusetts and Florida are consistently top performers in education. Just last year, Florida ranked first in the nation for teacher quality. At our conference, we investigated the Florida model and why it works.
Over the past few months, Education Commissioner Steve Bowen and I have worked on a number of education proposals, which we believe will get Maine’s schools headed in the right direction. An emphasis on higher skill sets for teachers is a common feature of reforms around the globe.
Currently, there are winners and losers in Maine’s education system. Union bosses and administrators enjoy many benefits and protections, while teachers and students have been displaced. There is a too much money going to unions and administration when the money should be put into the classroom.
That is why I have made targeted investments in education. While cuts to many state agency budgets have occurred, Maine’s schools will receive $84 million in additional funding over the first four years of my Administration.
Over the next two years, we will spend $2.5 million each year to help districts implement teacher and principal evaluation systems. We will spend $2 million to facilitate the transition to proficiency-based high school diplomas, ensuring that students graduate with a diploma that truly prepares them for life’s experience.
And we will spend $1.5 million to assist Career and Technical Education centers and regions in attaining national industry certification. This will enable students to receive college credit more easily and increase their chances at successful college completion.
Education should not be a partisan issue. Our children are not Democrats or Republicans; they are our future. Education gave me a future, and it is giving my children a future, too.
When our son Devon first came to Maine, his English was not very good. He was one of those students who would have told Mohamed he wasn’t interested in the lessons being taught.
One day, a friend told me, “Paul, throw away all those dead white men books and get Devon something he enjoys.” So, we did. We bought him every golfing magazine we could find. His reading and writing skills soared, and we learned a valuable lesson: effective teachers not only motivate students, they find out what inspires them.
Let’s reward those teachers, and let’s inspire our students. Let’s give Mohamed and others the opportunities they deserve for a brighter future.
March 22, 2013
The Maine State Lottery announced today that Peter King of Kennebunk Maine is the latest winner of One-Million Dollars. Mr. King won playing the Maine Millionaire II game that he purchased from the Cumberland Farms in Kennebunk. There are still two top prizes of $1,000,000 remaining to be won in the game. The Lottery reminds everyone to “Keep it fun. Play responsibly.”
March 20, 2013
Maine State Lottery
Mar 23 2013 | Posted in featured
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