Maine has always been a well-kept secret. The state’s incredible natural beauty and quality of life are well known to those who live and visit here, but what is perhaps less understood, is the emerging financial and economic opportunities to be found here.
However, that is quickly changing and if the activity our office has experienced in 2022 and in particular 2023 is any indication, word is officially out.
Many of the factors driving interest in Maine are strengths which were once some of the state’s weaknesses from an economic standpoint:
First, Maine is a state with a low cost of living. This makes it an attractive place to do business, especially for businesses that are looking to save money. According to a 2022 report by the Council for Community and Economic Development, Maine has the 11th lowest cost of living in the United States. This means that businesses can save money on everything from rent to wages to utilities.
Second, Maine has a strong workforce. The state has a well-educated population that is skilled in a variety of industries. According to the Maine Department of Labor, the state’s unemployment rate is currently 3.5%, which is well below the national average of 3.9%. This means that businesses can easily find the talent they need to succeed.
Third, Maine is a state with a growing economy. The state’s economy has been growing steadily in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. According to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the state’s GDP grew by 3.4% in 2021. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the growth of the tourism industry, the expansion of the medical and bioscience industries, and the growth of the technology sector.
Add to this Maine’s natural beauty, strong sense of community and a number of tax breaks offered to attract businesses and individuals to the state and you have an incredible place to live, work and play.
The impact of climate change is felt everywhere on the planet and in some cases, the changes will render areas nearly uninhabitable. “Climate migration” could displace or force relocation for millions of Americans in the coming decades. While Maine will not be spared from the environmental impact, it will not see as dramatic results as areas of the South and Southwest. Northern New England and Maine in particular are seen as destinations for those leaving these areas. According to a study by the Rhodium Group, counties in northern New England will be among those least affected by climate change and their populations least affected. Parts of the Midwest and Northeast are becoming known as “climate havens”, areas thought to be less impacted by climate change. Common sense would suggest that jobs will follow the people in this new reality, as opposed to the other way around.
The reality is, investment groups, holding companies and family offices (More on what these are here) are already looking to Maine as a prime location for investment. Established and well-run businesses are of greatest interest as these groups look to deploy capital to safer destinations.
For better or for worse, Maine will likely see a massive transformation in the coming years, which, if properly managed, can be hugely beneficial to our state and its people.
Please excuse the pun but preparing your business for sale now, might just be the best way to “beat the heat”.
– Justin Cotta Holmes 8/1/2023