January 7, 2019
Focus: 2019 Economic Outlook

19 business leaders weigh in on Maine's economy — and a year that could offer some surprises

5 troubling signs of a shifting economy

1. The stock market's unsteady performance

2. Historically low unemployment constricts business growth

3. Tariffs forcing changes in some industries

4. Banks are heavily invested in real estate

5. We're near the end of the economic cycle.

5 signs the Maine economy could stay strong in 2019

1. Construction projects now underway or on the books

2. Continued demand for real estate space

3. Shortage of affordable housing will create ongoing demand

4. Even with increases, interest rates will remain relatively low

5. Changes in Augusta will be good for certain industries.

Every January, Mainebiz looks at the coming year and asks a range of experts, "What can we expect?" This year, we asked an even larger group of leaders — CEOs, small business owners, nonprofit leaders and economists — what 2019 will look like. The responses are more nuanced and tempered than the past few years. Yes, construction and real estate are strong, as are certain industries, but there are some warning signs. For the first time in a while, we're hearing more leaders express concern about the next "contraction" or recession. We'd encourage you to read the following pages and form your own opinion.

19 business leaders

Christine Cummings, executive director of the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association

Jim Damicis, senior vice president at Camion Associates

Peter Dufour, founder of Dufour Tax Group

Kevin French, executive vice president of Landry/French Construction

Peter Horch, founder of Horch Roofing

Chip Kelley, Maine market president for KeyBank

Kevin Lewis, president and CEO of Community Health Options

David Libby, president and CEO of Town & Country Federal Credit Union

Jeff Lind, COO at Clark Insurance

Amanda Rand, president of Spinnaker Trust

Molly C. Reinfried, certified financial planner at HM Payson

Patrick Scully, managing partner at Bernstein Shur

Sue Spann, co-owner of RE/MAX Riverside Real Estate Co.

Bryan Thompson, CEO of Thompson-Hamel LLC

Matt Tracy, founder and president of M. Leonard International Inc.

JB Turner, president of Front Street Shipyard

Margo Walsh, founder of MaineWorks

Nate Wildes, executive director at Live and Work in Maine

Rick Wolf, owner and partner with the B&B Team

Plus three government voices

Amanda Rector, Maine state economist

Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism

Christina Kane-Gibson, events and marketing director of the city of Caribou


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