Workers from Massachusetts and other northeastern states may have accounted for most of Maine’s population growth in the first year of the pandemic, according to new jobs data.
Maine saw its largest population increase in decades in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by people who moved here from other U.S. states, as international migration was scarce and the state continued to see more births than deaths.
The influx was largely from nearby states led by Massachusetts, new jobs data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest. But Maine also saw hundreds of new workers from as far off as California and only lost workers on net to six states.
The data come from the Census Bureau’s job-to-job flows data, which examines the churn of workers who go directly from one employer to another. Most who switch jobs stay in the same place, but the data track how many workers are hired by companies in different states. It provides the most specific measure so far of movement between states during the pandemic.
From April 2020 through March 2021, Maine gained just shy of 4,500 workers on net through this job-switching, the data show. Nearly 19,000 workers newly found jobs here while about 14,500 left. That was up nearly double from 2,350 workers on net in the year prior and a bit less than 1,500 the year before that.
The data only show workers who have changed jobs. Workers who may have relocated while working remotely for the same company are not included. The data also leave out workers who may have started working in a new place after being in school, unemployed or otherwise out of the labor force. Data are missing from a few states.
But the data, released last week, still provide some insight as to the places from which Maine attracted workers in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time period, the biggest flow of workers into Maine was from Massachusetts, with more than 1,200 more workers hired by Maine companies from Massachusetts firms than vice versa.
Maine had seen a positive inflow of workers from Massachusetts in the job-to-job data for several years. The net increase was greater in the pandemic’s first year.
New Hampshire and New York ranked second and third in net flow of workers into Maine between April 2020 and March 2021. In that time period, Maine attracted just shy of 700 workers on net from New Hampshire and more than 500 workers on net from New York. Those two states, along with Massachusetts, account for more than half of the net total of out-of-state workers hired by Maine firms during that time.
Other states with large populations saw large numbers of workers take jobs in Maine, but those figures were offset by workers moving from Maine to those states. For example, 1,630 workers were hired from Florida to Maine during that period. But 1,627 workers left Maine for jobs in Florida, leading to little net change.
Maine saw a net outflow of workers to only six states, led by North Carolina, which only hired 36 more workers from Maine than Maine hired from there.