Gov. Janet Mills said during an appearance in Portland on Wednesday evening that the state’s economy is in good shape and that Maine is emerging from the two-year pandemic as a destination place to live.

Mills was participating in “A Conversation about the Maine Economy,” part of the Roux Institute at Northeastern University’s Signature Speaker Series. In an auditorium at the institute’s campus at 100 Fore Street, she answered questions from Mary Ludden, senior vice provost and senior vice chancellor at Northeastern University. About 100 people attended.

Ludden asked the governor, who is running for re-election, to reflect on how the state has fared the past two years, and on its future.

Mills said that measures her administration took to protect Mainers’ health have made the state a desirable place to live, which bodes well for the state’s economy.

“We can’t have a healthy economy without having healthy people,” Mills told the crowd.

The governor touted her administration’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, which she said will utilize funding from the federal American Rescue Plan to improve the lives of state residents, help businesses, create good jobs and build an economy poised for the future. The jobs and recovery plan was introduced in May 2021 and draws on recommendations from her Economic Recovery Committee and the state’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy.


During the pandemic, Mills said, Maine earned a reputation as being one of the safest states in the nation to live. In-migration numbers for the state, among the highest in the country, according to the most recent census numbers, show that people want to move to Maine.

“Maine is at the top of the nation for in-migration numbers. We’re one of the safest states in the country to live. People are coming back,” Mills said. “And it pays off to be a state with beautiful natural resources.”

Maine’s population grew by nearly 10,000 people – 0.7 percent – from April 2020 to July 2021, due mostly to in-migration, primarily from other states.

Mills told the audience that all of those factors are contributing to an economy on the rise.

She said her administration’s 10-year economic development plan, released in November 2019, recommends Maine add at least 75,000 people to the state’s workforce over 10 years. Maine is one of the oldest states in the nation and is expected to lose an estimated 65,000 workers in the next decade.

The Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan represents a $1 billion investment to help people, businesses and communities recover from the pandemic, according to the Mills administration, and go to expand child care, affordable housing and broadband access. The plan will be funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in funds to Maine in 2021.

Mills also said the state will soon benefit from expanded broadband connectivity. She said the lack of high-speed broadband in communities across the state exacerbated pandemic hardships when students and workers were forced to work remotely.

The jobs and recovery plan calls for the new Maine Connectivity Authority to invest $21 million to bring affordable, high-speed broadband to communities across the state. The state funding will supplement the $128 million of federal broadband money the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Every person in Maine who wants high speed Internet service will have it in two years from now,” Mills told the audience.

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