Economic Development
Year in Review 2017

2017 was a productive year for Aroostook County economic development efforts.  A new Harbor Freight business opened at the Aroostook Centre Mall, a new Tractor Supply opened in Madawaska, Smith and Wesson expanded in Houlton, the ‘Maine Malt House’ business expanded in Mapleton, a new business ‘ TRP Truck Parts’ opened at Loring which provides both parts and service, the new $3.1M Acme Monaco expansion opened in the Presque Isle Industrial Park, the forest products sector flourished with both Louisiana Pacific & Huber having a great year, and the potato & broccoli crop quality was excellent.  Overall, there was over $160M in business investment and an impressive 243 new jobs created throughout the County which brings our 5-year totals to over $900M in investment and 914 new jobs created. In fact, 2017 saw growth across virtually every sector of our economy from healthcare and agriculture to forestry and manufacturing.  Small business growth was particularly strong as NMDC’s Small Business Development Center Director was nationally recognized for exceeding goals in assisting new business starts.  And at Loring, several businesses are interested in that location, but they will require an anchor business such as aviation to provide the business base to justify their development.
The County also had a lot of exposure and interaction with the rest of Maine in 2017 as the Aroostook Partnership (AP) held their ‘Aroostook Day at the Legislature’ in January with 25 legislators and more than 60 total attendees.  The key topics discussed were the economic benefits of forestry and mining as well as the need for welfare policy revision to enable and incentivize the unemployed to re-enter the labor force.  In February, in coordination with the Maine Development Foundation, we hosted two busloads of legislators for a County tour and economic, demographic and collaboration discussions to give them a better appreciation for Aroostook’s economy and challenges.  Tourism efforts were also more aggressive as AP teamed with the Aroostook County Tourism Board to produce a very attractive and informative tourism map in addition to the revised County Tourism Guide.  And in September, AP hosted a business luncheon with the leaders of the new National Monument to begin a dialogue of how we can work together to bring more attention to the County and the Monument as that project develops.
In Energy, Emera Maine continued to modernize our infrastructure and the two ReEnergy biomass power plants benefited from a power purchase agreement the legislature approved to allow the sale of electricity to the state.  Multiple wind projects and the transmission interconnect worth billions of dollars responded to the Massachusetts clean energy request for proposal and should hear if they were selected in 2018. Unfortunately, ReEnergy notified the system administrator that they may have to shut down in the fall of 2018 if they are unable to get new contracts.  This could greatly impact our forest sector economy as well as the County’s power reliability.   Regarding energy challenges, the Aroostook Energy Association was formed to work with AP and Emera Maine to pursue solutions to enable policies and practices that can maximize the greatest energy stability for County businesses.  The Maine Public Utilities Commission will visit Aroostook in January to hear business concerns and suggested ideas to keep the ReEnergy plants operational and approaches for policy revision consideration.
14 years ago, the ‘Tarnished Crown’ report analyzed the County’s economy and population trends and concluded that the private sector needed to participate in economic development.  That report was the motivation for forming the Partnership.  This year, AP contracted to have this economic analysis updated and the final report entitled ‘Caring for the Crown’ captured both the progress and the challenges, especially with our demographics, that are projected for the County over the next 10 years.  The projections are alarming and a top priority for 2018 will be to determine a strategy and actions to increase engagement to turn around these projections.
Looking forward, the Partnership’s top priority remains growing the County’s future workforce.  Almost every major employer is seeking additional qualified workers and the challenge is growing.  AP is working with our high schools, our local colleges, and our major employers to increase awareness of the existing and projected employment opportunities and promote internships, apprenticeships and company tours throughout Aroostook.  We’ll continue to collaborate with our Chambers of Commerce and agencies like SADC, ACAP, AAI, Junior Achievement, Jobs For Maine Grads, and our Career & Technical Education schools to promote retention efforts.  And in 2018, we intend to reach out to groups such as Empower Aroostook, Momentum Aroostook and young professionals to assist in attraction efforts using social media and our Opportunities Aroostook website.



Age & Gender Distribution, 2012
    Aroostook County, ME U.S.
Total Population 71,757 309,138,711
Under 5 years 3,491 20,137,884
5 to 9 years 3,696 20,311,310
10 to 14 years 4,246 20,647,280
15 to 19 years 4,794 21,930,781
20 to 24 years 3,839 21,775,439
25 to 29 years 3,413 21,107,848
30 to 34 years 3,526 20,076,442
35 to 39 years 4,043 20,090,924
40 to 44 years 4,583 21,136,581
45 to 49 years 5,531 22,432,320
50 to 54 years 5,916 22,214,659
55 to 59 years 6,025 19,680,816
60 to 64 years 4,942 16,924,986
65 to 69 years 3,868 12,581,125
70 to 74 years 3,451 9,430,936
75 to 79 years 2,551 7,378,592
80 to 84 years 2,254 5,768,656
85 years and over 1,588 5,512,132
Total Female 36,478 157,119,912
Total Male 35,279 152,018,799
Population by Race, 2012*
    Aroostook County, ME U.S.
Total Population 71,757 309,138,711
White alone 68,595 229,298,906
Black or African American alone 430 38,825,848
American Indian alone 998 2,529,100
Asian alone 352 14,859,795
Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Is. alone ¨37 514,402
Some other race alone ˙164 14,814,369
Two or more races 1,181 8,296,291
Percent of Total    
White alone 95.6% 74.2%
Black or African American alone 0.6% 12.6%
American Indian alone 1.4% 0.8%
Asian alone ˙0.5% 4.8%
Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Is. alone 0.1% 0.2%
Some other race alone ˙0.2% 4.8%
Two or more races 1.6% 2.7%
* The data in this table are calculated by ACS using annual surveys conducted during 2008-2012 and are representative of average characteristics during this period.
Educational Attainment, 2012*
    Aroostook County, ME U.S.
Total Population 25 yrs or older 51,691 204,336,017
No high school degree 7,983 29,179,819
High school graduate 43,708 175,156,198
Associates degree 4,495 15,736,009
Bachelor's degree or higher 8,523 58,205,022
Bachelor's degree 6,110 36,529,875
Graduate or professional 2,413 21,675,147
Percent of Total    
No high school degree 15.4% 14.3%
High school graduate 84.6% 85.7%
Associates degree 8.7% 7.7%
Bachelor's degree or higher 16.5% 28.5%
Bachelor's degree 11.8% 17.9%
Graduate or professional 4.7% 10.6%
* The data in this table are calculated by ACS using annual surveys conducted during 2008-2012 and are representative of average characteristics during this period.



 © Aroostook Partnership 2018