Coping with a recent COVID uptick, lingering inflation, and tight labor market conditions, Maine’s economy keeps fighting. Employers, employees, and job-seekers alike are showing unprecedented resilience, fighting adversity in ways that should make us all optimistic about the future.

Tourism is undoubtedly an important piece of Maine’s economic puzzle. Millions of people flooded the streets of Portland, natural attractions, and other areas during the summer months, bringing their hard-earned dollars with them. According to new research, visits to Acadia National Park alone add hundreds of millions of dollars to the state economy.

But there is much, much more to Maine’s economic fortitude than our tourist attractions. As Gov. Janet Mills recently explained, our state has experienced more economic growth over the last four years than it ever did in the preceding 15 years. Labor force participation has also rebounded post-pandemic, with a low unemployment rate to show for it. This isn’t possible if the news is all bad; there are plenty of good things happening in Maine too.

At their core, Mainers are dreamers. We are innovators. We are entrepreneurs who believe in creating, growing, and supporting businesses large and small. The strength of our state’s private sector — despite adverse external factors — is inextricably linked to economic prosperity writ large. Our business community is integral to growth: According to the latest research, there are more than 151,000 small businesses in Maine (99.2% of all businesses), employing hundreds of thousands of workers.

Take the biotech sector as a case study. Between 2016 and 2021, life science job creation in Maine grew by more than 40%, totaling nearly 10,000 new careers. Average pay, meanwhile, rose to $108,000 a year — the most rapid and significant growth in New England. Today, the life sciences contribute more than $2 billion to the state economy. That’s right: $2 billion.

Maine’s life science contribution will be on full display at this week’s BioME Annual Conference held at the University of Southern Maine, which Puritan Medical Products is proud to attend as a platinum sponsor. BioME’s annual event is a celebration of the positive impact that biotech and medical device firms bring to our economy. It is a unique gathering of industry leaders and the culmination of a productive year, but by no means the end of a story.


Day after day, workers in Maine’s most innovative industries — life sciences and more — are proving that our state can compete with any other. Today’s innovators don’t need to take their talents to Boston or New York. They don’t need to leave for greener pastures because the pastures have never been greener here. Not only can native Mainers (and those moving here) find exciting career opportunities in “Vacationland,” but they can also earn competitive wages and salaries that guarantee financial security for their families.

When the COVID-19 pandemic came in March 2020, it’s no coincidence that the federal government turned to Puritan to meet the sky-high demand for testing swabs. Millions of Americans ended up relying on a family-owned business in rural Maine, and we successfully ramped up the production needed to serve them. That same work ethic — a “can-do” spirit — makes Puritan a staple at national and international trade shows, despite our humble roots. And we are still applying our expertise for the greater good, transcending any one virus.

Why? Because Mainers can compete with anyone.

I am encouraged to see so many successful companies make our state home. In fact, 14 Maine companies have made the list of America’s fastest growing businesses, including Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, Compotech, and VETRO. Even beyond life sciences, entrepreneurs are finding ways to stand out in a global marketplace, overcoming unique economic challenges by bringing valuable goods and services to the market.

Let us never lose sight of the innovation and entrepreneurship that power our state forward. Economic problems are a dime a dozen these days, but the solution remains the same: The hard work being done in the private sector, even at mom-and-pop shops.

That’s why I, for one, am optimistic about the future. Trials and tribulations will always exist, but we can’t lose sight of the big picture. Innovators and entrepreneurs will shine through, helping their local communities and the world to boot.

Maine’s biotech sector is one leader, but companies like ours are not alone. The life science industry, while formidable, is not fighting adversity alone. Our state economy fights as one.

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