Commentary

Maine Enjoys Second Highest Personal Income Growth in the Nation, Without Question 4

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Don’t look now – but Maine’s economy is powering ahead and proving that November’s minimum wage ballot initiative is completely unnecessary and counter-intuitive.

While liberals have been preoccupied with deriding Gov. LePage and obstructing nearly every one of his changes and reforms, Maine’s economy has slowly but steadily picked up steam.

Maine now has the second highest personal income growth in the nation – a clear indication that our economy is making up for the ground it lost during the Great Recession. Over the past year, our personal income grew at an astonishing rate of 4.6 percent, which is second only to neighboring New Hampshire.

The Pine Tree State has also experienced a major decrease in its unemployment rate. As of July 2016, our unemployment rate was a mere 3.9%, one of the lowest rates in the country. It’s also a great deal lower than the 8.1% unemployment rate that Maine was burned with right before Gov. LePage took office.

Both of these are extremely positive trends and strong signs that our labor market is tightening – meaning there are fewer individuals who are looking for work and available for hire. In fact, many seasonal businesses in Maine were forced to close early this year because of staffing shortages and an absence of workers.

As reported by WMTW, Pier 1 Pizza in Bar Harbor had positions open the entire summer, but was unable to fill their openings because of a lack of applications.

“This is the first time in 16 years of being in business I didn’t hire a high school student from Boothbay. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to; nobody applied,” said owner Korey Lewis.

But this is good news for Maine workers, as it means businesses will be forced to raise their wages in order to attract applicants and remain competitive in our growing economy.

As pointed out on Twitter by liberal blogger Gerald Weinand, the Burger King in Bath has now started hiring workers at $10.25 per hour. According to employment review website Glassdoor, Burger King traditionally hires entry level workers at around $8 per hour.

And this is exactly how the job market is supposed to function; when our economy grows, and there are more jobs than applicants, wages rise naturally. Rather than government arbitrarily determining wages (or increasing them through a minimum wage increase) our economy instinctively raises wages in a way that benefits both workers and consumers.

While a government-mandated minimum wage increase often leads to fewer jobs, higher unemployment, less worker benefits, and higher prices, a natural wage increase (like the one Maine is experiencing) does not cause any of these negative effects.

It allows all workers (even those in food service or retail positions) to enjoy salary increases without losing income or benefits in some other fashion.

Maine’s economic growth is completely healthy and authentic – and just another indication that we don’t need government interfering with our economy and unnaturally distorting our market through a minimum wage increase.

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