Business Development and Labor Force Participation
Latinos have reported moving to Maine to experience a better quality of life. This included finding employment. Some Latinos have been successful in the labor market, whereas others have faced some problems finding employment. The labor force participation rates for Latinos age 16 to 64 years and not in school was similar to those for the general population, but they experienced higher rates of unemployment. Nearly 13.1 percent of Latinos were unemployed in 2000, compared to 5.2 percent of non-Latino whites. Over half (54.3 percent) of all Latinos worked in low-wage service-sector jobs. The few Dominicans in Maine demonstrated some success in the labor market, as 43.1 percent of them worked in white-collar jobs (executive, administrative, and managerial occupations, or professional specialty occupations).
Labor market participation can also be assessed by the number of workers in a family who are employed. Census data do not identify the number of jobs a person works, but they can be used to estimate the number of workers in a family. Latinos generally have a greater number of workers who are employed, compared to Anglo-Americans. However, this was not the case in Maine, where Latinos averaged 2.1 workers per family, and non-Latino whites averaged 2.2 workers.
Latinos, especially Mexicans, have traditionally come to Maine as migrant and seasonal farmworkers. They work in Maine’s blueberry, apple, eggs, Christmas wreath, tree-planting, and broccoli farms. Many newly arrived Latinos from Mexico work in Maine’s dairy farms.6 The presence of low-income Latino workers has been strong enough to prompt the creation of the Maine Migrant Health Program, which provides primary and preventative health care services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. In 2004 that program provided services to over 1,000 individuals. In addition, the city of Portland provides a Latino Community Health Outreach worker to assist Latinos in receiving adequate medical care.