Business and Economy

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Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is putting the brakes on a multimillion-dollar contract to refurbish public transit vehicles for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

In 2014, the Maine Military Authority won a $19 million contract to rehab 32 articulated commuter buses for the Boston-area transit system, known as the MBTA. The goal was to stem job losses at the Loring Development Authority.

Susan Faloon, a spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, says it recently became apparent that the deal was a money-loser for Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Bath Iron Works has announced that it plans to lay off 30 workers immediately and eliminate another 130 positions over time.

But Rich Nolan, president of the Machinists' Union local S6, says those layoffs won't affect union members."As I understand, salaried personnel," he says. "It will not affect any members of local s6."

Susan Sharon / MPBN

One of the big questions raised by the ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Maine is what effect it will have on the state’s medical marijuana program and the mom-and-pop economy it has created.

A new report warns that Maine’s economy will need an infusion of new workers, including immigrants, in order to achieve any future growth.

The report issued by the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine State Chamber is blunt. It says Maine faces a projected shortage of workers as more people age and retire.

Coast Guard News / Flickr/Creative Commons

States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic — smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it’s illegal and worth a lot more.

Courtesy Perkins+Will

PORTLAND, Maine - The company that's developing the former Portland Company site at Fore Street in Portland today unveiled its plan for the $250 million mixed-use site.

The redevelopment of the 960,000-square-foot parcel is one of the biggest projects ever proposed in Portland, and the subject of a long permitting process.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Mercy Hospital has laid off 31 of its nearly 1,500 employees almost two months after it offered retirement buyouts to 99 people.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the Portland hospital cut workers in building maintenance, housekeeping, environmental services and other clinical and administrative positions.

No doctors or nurses were affected by the move. But some nurses were eligible for the buyouts.

LEWISTON, Maine - A new report finds that Maine's forest products industry supports more than 33,000 jobs and will contribute about $8.5 billion to the state's economy this year, despite recent job losses and mill closures. 

PORTLAND, Maine - There's mixed news for Maine's metropolitan areas on the economic growth front, according to new numbers out today from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Among the three metro areas in Maine that the bureau tracks, the Portland-South Portland region saw the most growth: Its gross domestic product grew 1.4 percent, from $27.8 billion in 2014 to $28.9 billion in 2015. Bangor's economy grew 1 percent.  But in the Lewiston-Auburn area, the GDP actually shrank, by 2.8 percent.

PORTLAND, Maine - There were no big changes in Maine's unemployment rate in August. That's according to new numbers from the Maine Department of Labor.

State labor officials say unemployment rose slightly from July to August, from 3.9 percent to 4.0. That's down from 4.3 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, payroll numbers, which show the number of jobs in a given area, are up from a year ago. 

Robert F. Bukaty / The Associated Press

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's wild blueberry crop was better than expected this year despite a drought that has hit some sectors of New England agriculture hard.

The executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine says the state most likely hit its five-year average of about 93 million pounds. Nancy McBrady says irrigation and a strong year for pollination buoyed Maine's crop this year.

Maine produces far more wild blueberries than any other state in the U.S.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage today offered a grim prediction for the roughly 650 employees at the recently purchased Fairchild Semiconductor.


The governor told Bangor radio station WVOM that he believes the company's new owner, ON Semiconductor, would shutter the South Portland facility.


"The likelihood of them leaving I think is - unfortunate - is a high probability," LePage said. "And unfortunately it falls on deaf ears across the street," LePage says.


PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Maine System is going to ask state lawmakers for a 14 percent increase in state funding to aid growth.

Trustees have approved budgets that’ll grow over the next three years.

Those increases include an extra $7.2 million in the 2017 appropriation, the result of an agreement made with Gov. Paul LePage last spring. That was in exchange for continuing a tuition freeze, which has been in place for in-state students for five years.

A group of business professionals has formed a new coalition to advocate for better regulation of the marijuana industry.

Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana is not taking a position on Question 1 on the November ballot — its members are equally divided — but the group hopes to have a better system in place if the measure passes.

Joan Seidel / AP file

An Arizona-based company has purchased Fairchild Semiconductor for $2.4 billion. The merger is expected to provide millions in cost savings for ON Semiconductor, but the fate of the Fairchild’s South Portland facility is unclear.