Hospitality industry adds $7 billion to Maine’s economy, study finds

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
A waitress checks the identification of a customer after he ordered a beer at the Ground Round in Bangor in this Dec. 8, 2013, file photo.
The University of Maine study shows that the state's hospitality industry employed about 59,000 full- and part-time workers and contributed almost $7 billion to Maine's economy.
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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, said 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,” Hewkins said.

“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,” he said.

Hewins said 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,” Hewkins said. “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 said that the Maine hospitality industry is facing a workforce crisis. He said his group is trying to let the public know about available opportunities and create a plan to recruit more workers.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.


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