Just how low are wages in Maine? (w/ one update)

ON the back of Darren Fishell’s recent post on the BLS’s recently released wage data for 2013 for all counties in the U.S., below is a breakdown of average annual wages for all counties in New England.   As a state, Maine ranks 46th nationally, however, delving into the data reveals where Maine sits relative to its regional neighbors.

Briefly, Maine lags all other New England states in terms of average annual wages by state, highest average annual wage by county, and lowest average annual wage by county.  Further, of the 22 lowest average annual wage counties in New England, 14 are in Maine.

Here are the average annual wages by state:

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QCEW 2013 state

Next are the highest average annual wage counties for each state:

QCEW top counties

And the lowest average annual wage counties for each state:

QCEW low

Lastly, every county in New England:

QCEW 2013

The wage data is not adjusted for inflation or cost of living.  Doing so would narrow the wage gap between Maine and the other New England states.  However, while Maine wages lag, there is some reason to believe Maine’s larger cities and metro areas are competing for young skilled labor with the rest of New England.


As I noted above, and as some commenters have highlighted, the above data is not entirely accurate because of the variances in cost of living by state.  The below chart shows those wages adjusted for cost of living using the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s 2013 annual costs of living index (I will post all county wages using this same COLA index in the future):

(click image to enlarge)


John Haskell

About John Haskell

John graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Political Science, and from the University of Maine School of Law. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, and currently, works with a small business services company in the Mid-Coast area.