Business and Economy

Business news

About 1 in 4 small-business owners in the U.S. say they’ll have to close if economic conditions don’t get better soon.

The new numbers from the National Federation of Independent Businesses aren’t broken down by state, but NFIB Maine state director David Clough says the story is no different in Maine, where small-business owners are in a much weaker position now than they were at the start of the pandemic.

He says many are reluctant to take on government aid that might come with strings attached, such as PPP loans that could require repayment.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

The United Kingdom and the state of Maine see a joint future in the development of offshore wind and other renewable energy sources.

First-time claims for unemployment in Maine jumped upward, to 2,996, in the week ending Dec. 5.

That was a 55 percent increase over the week before. It was also the highest number of first-time claims since mid-July.

About 1,200 Mainers filed first time claims in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, set up to help freelancers and others who don’t qualify for ordinary state benefits.

Since March 15, the state has paid out over $1.7 billion in benefits under the state and federal programs.

The Maine Economic Growth Council has released its annual Measures of Growth, a report card of what the state has accomplished economically and what it still has to work on.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Pixelle Specialty Solutions, the company that owns the Jay paper mill, says it won’t attempt to rebuild a pulp digester destroyed in an explosion last April.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey is joining a coalition of 48 attorneys general in an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public file

Maine food and agriculture businesses can seek reimbursement for expenses they may have incurred while trying to address supply disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Maine’s Department of Marine Resources is launching a million-dollar marketing campaign to get Maine seafood onto more Americans’ plates.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the state of Maine a rather disappointing C- on its infrastructure report card, which it issues every four years. And every four years, the state’s roads and bridges, dams and water systems could do a little bit better.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

Cannabis has become the state’s most valuable agricultural products.

Unemployment rates in Maine’s three urban areas continued to decline in October.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The owners of the Androscoggin Mill in Jay have terminated employment for more than 170 people this year, drastically reducing their workforce after an explosion that destroyed the paper mill’s pulp digester.

Some of those who lost their jobs have said they would look for work out of state — others chose to stay.

The Jay mill is almost idyllic in a light snowfall the week before Thanksgiving. There are few trucks to disrupt the low hum from the plant, which sprawls out along the backs of the Androscoggin River.

Maine followed the national trend of fewer first-time unemployment claims last week.

The state Labor Department says 1,927 people applied, down from more than 2,200 the week before.

The number of Mainers filing first-time claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fell to 725, from just over 2,000 the week before.

The federal program pays benefits to freelancers and others who don’t qualify for state unemployment benefits.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

The state has temporarily shut down the application portal for an economic recovery grant program after it crashed Thursday morning, leaving many business owners confused and concerned.

It’s been a hard year for Michelle Peacock, the co-owner of Camden’s Blue Harbor House Inn. She says pandemic-related restrictions and their economic effects have reduced business by 70 percent.

“That definitely affected our revenue. And pretty much anyone else that is in the lodging, or any kind of hospitality, industry,” she says.

Troy R. Bennett / BDN

As towns continue to debate the merits of cruise tourism, some activists in Maine are joining a global group looking to reform the cruise ship industry.