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Study: Maine Has Highest Percentage of Low-Wage Workers in Northeast

BANGOR, Maine - Maine has more low-wage earners than any other state in the Northeast. That's according to a study by the nonprofit poverty-relief group Oxfam.

"'So 32 percent of Maine workers are currently paid less than $12 an hour," says Mike Tipping, of the Maine People's Alliance, a progressive advocacy group.

Tipping, who's also a spokesman for Mainers for Fair Wages, a group that's spearheading a referendum on the November ballot to raise Maine's minimum wage, says the study results come as no surprise. He says the lower-paid jobs in Maine aren't just in the restaurant industry, but include a number of other professions - "EMTs and firefighters, and people who do home care for the elderly and disabled people."

The Oxfam study shows that Maine has a significantly higher proportion of low wage earners than either neighboring New Hampshire or Vermont, which came it at 24 percent and 26 percent respectively.

Maine's rate of 31.9 percent was slightly worse than the national average of 31.3 percent.

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