Fishing, lumbering, farming, trapping, and shipbuilding were the leading economic activities of Maine from the 18th to the late 19th century, when the state began to develop a more broadly based manufacturing industry. In the second half of the 20th century Maine’s economy began making another transition. While manufacturing remained the biggest contributor to the state’s gross product, jobs in manufacturing decreased, falling 14 percent between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the service industries and retail trade showed substantial growth. Such growth is indicative of the importance of tourism to the state’s economy.
Maine had a work force of 669,000 in 2008. Of those the largest share—38 percent—worked in the service industry, doing such things as working in dry cleaners or data processing. Another 21 percent were employed in wholesale or retail trade; 17 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 9 percent in manufacturing; 14 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 5 percent in construction; 21 percent in transportation or public utilities; and 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing. Employment in mining was insignificant. In 2007, 12 percent of Maine’s workers were unionized. "Maine" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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