A new study from the University of Maine shows that the Maine hospitality industry employed about 59,000 full and part-time workers last year and generated $4 billion in taxable retail sales, with a total contribution to Maine's economy of almost $7 billion.
The CEO of the industry trade group Hospitality Maine, Steve Hewins, says that this is the first time the industry has categorized all the existing jobs and what they pay.
“They run the gamut from the entry level type jobs that many people are familiar with, that might be quick service restaurants and things like that, on up to general managers of properties and hotels and restaurants and chefs,” says Hewkins.
“It makes up what probably is the largest private sector employer in the state, so there's quite a few, 1 in 10 people in Maine, that are employed in hospitality.”
Hewins says researchers found about 45 different job categories from servers and cooks to bookkeepers and event planners.
“My view, pretty much, has been that we're really at the tip of the spear of economic development,” Hewins says. “I mean restaurants and food and, obviously, the sights and attractions that draw people to come here, but also for people to live here.”
Hewins says that the Maine hospitality industry is facing a workforce crisis. He says his group is trying to let the public know about available opportunities and create a plan to recruit more workers.