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Thread summary:

Couple seeking information on moving back to New England; low pay high cost of living state, hot jobs in Maine, rental expenses, higher education administration and data analysis jobs

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Old 10-12-2008, 08:20 AM
 
Location: NH
115 posts, read 390,034 times
Reputation: 59

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My family and I, left VT back in the summer to return to PA after 3 years. It was against my wishes to leave New England as I wanted to move to Maine but the only thing that my wife and I agreed on was to get out of VT which had proved to be a disasterous move which finally ended after we practically gave away our house in order to sell it. We moved back to southern PA because that is where my wife is originally from and we felt at the time it would give me a much greater chance of finding work unlike VT.......this indeed proved to be the case as I found work almost immediately down in Baltimore.

I don't know what it is but I have always held the belief that when you return to a place that held extremely happy times for you, it is never the same second time around..and our move to PA has proven to be this way.....well I actually thought everything was going great until a few days ago when my wife came to me and admitted that I was right and that we should have moved to Maine instead of back to PA. So here I am......extremely HAPPY to be now planning a move back to New England, and with any luck Maine.

My first concern is the Maine Job Market which obviously revolves mainly around Portland and Augusta. Most of my job experience is working as a data analyst / administrator in Higher education but glancing at available college jobs in Maine, I noticed that they were low paid for the experience they were expecting.
My questions:
1) Is Maine a low pay, high cost of living state like Vermont.
2) If I wanted to consider a career change, what industry in Maine is still experiencing growth even in these tight economic times.
3) One thing I am curious about is this.......are there people who live in Southern Maine who commute to areas such as Northern Mass for jobs. Is it something that is legitimately feasible?
4) Is renting expensive in maine as it is eveywhere else?

Currently, we have no ties to PA as we are renting so we are looking to move next summer after the kids finish school,
Any opinions would be very much appreciated. thanks for reading my post.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Maine
431 posts, read 652,642 times
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Just to reply to the third part of your question, dh commutes from Kittery Point to Boston, every day. After working and driving in Chicago, the commute, he says, is not that bad. About 70 minutes.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:40 AM
 
Location: God's Country, Maine
2,052 posts, read 4,058,798 times
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Maine and Vermont are basically the same. Few jobs, low pay, endless social experiments, fear and loathing.

The largest single employer is the government, closely followed by BIW, LL Bean and the college/university system. There are many who commute from the Portland region to Boston. There is a train into town also.

Maine has one of the highest percentage of home ownership in the nation. Rents are like everywhere else in New England. You get what you pay for.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
8,010 posts, read 16,068,304 times
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I'd second dmyankee's comments.

I don't know what to tell you as far as jobs go. It's tough here, but I'd say it's probably the same almost everywhere. I would suggest making some trips up and looking for jobs before you do anything else (I probably don't even need to tell you that). I know medical fields such as nursing are always in growing demand, and considering Maine's hospitals are among the biggest employers it's a good bet here; but it's probably not an easy transition for you

Rents will vary a little depending on where you live, but I'd assume (without doing the proper research) that they're comparable to what you'd find in VT. Where in PA are you? Housing and rental costs vary wildly down there depending on where you're located and if I knew, I could probably make a better comparison.

Commuting to Boston (and other N. Mass points) is an option. It's an expensive one, and even from Kittery it's around 1 1/2 hour's drive (this can vary depending on traffic). The train (Amtrak's Downeaster) is available out of Wells, Saco, Old Orchard (summer seasonal) and Portland. It's certainly cheaper than driving, but it takes a heck of a lot longer and it's very unreliable (it is third priority behind freight trains and MBTA local Boston commuter rail trains with which it shares tracks) so it's tough to commute full time on it (in fact, a recent poll showed that only 21% of it's passengers are regular commuters). It's around 3.5 hour train ride (with minimal delays) from Portland when compared to 2.5 driving. Furthermore, the service is losing it's federal subsidy as of July 1, 2009 so the future of service is very much up in the air at this time. I also know people who commute from S. Maine to Manchester, NH by car, but don't love their commute.

Taxes here are higher than average to say the least, but good deals can still be found on homes (especially in this market) depending on where you want to go. I'd suggest searching on Trulia.com and on craigslist in addition to your typical real estate resources.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:46 PM
 
Location: NH
115 posts, read 390,034 times
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Hi folks, thanks for your opinions. If I could get a job in Maine that would be preferable than commuting to Mass. I suppose the first thing I need to do is to test the job market in Portland and Augusta even though I have no intention of moving until next year......then again if an opportunity comes up, in the mean time, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

As for trips up to Maine............there will be many before we actually move especially as my wife needs to check out the health system. She has a serious medical condition that she admitted to me was not meeting her needs down here(and is probably one of the contributing factors why she told me she wants to move back to New England)
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
39,333 posts, read 18,827,849 times
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I spent the day in Saco.....altho others pan that community I really like it.....and its on the rail line that goes to Boston....but I think its almost a 2 hr trip!

Today we tried out a new brew pub....The Run of the Mill....which is in one of the old mill bldgs...refurbished.....on the little island between saco and biddeford on the Saco River....Very Nice place. We saw that they are also putting in condo's in some of the bldgs. Saco has a great quantity of great space in those old bldgs.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,687 posts, read 49,462,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
... My questions:
1) Is Maine a low pay, high cost of living state like Vermont.
2) If I wanted to consider a career change, what industry in Maine is still experiencing growth even in these tight economic times.
3) One thing I am curious about is this.......are there people who live in Southern Maine who commute to areas such as Northern Mass for jobs. Is it something that is legitimately feasible?
4) Is renting expensive in maine as it is eveywhere else?
Everyone's experience will vary.

1. I see low pay jobs and medium pay jobs. I see few high pay jobs in Maine. My experience in Maine has been that the cost-of-living is low. In fact much lower than most of the other state where we have lived previously.

2. I have no idea.

3. I do not know.

4. No. I have apartments in Ct. We have also been looking at purchasing an apartment building in Maine. Rent levels are lower here than they are in Ct.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,687 posts, read 49,462,974 times
Reputation: 19134
P.S. <I waited too long to go back and edit my post.>

In answer #1, I had meant 'In fact much lower than most of the other states where we have lived previously".

This is our first time living in Maine.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,193 posts, read 22,333,621 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
1) Is Maine a low pay, high cost of living state like Vermont.
You will get different answers for the COL, but most will agree that it is low to medium pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
2) If I wanted to consider a career change, what industry in Maine is still experiencing growth even in these tight economic times.
None that I know of. Aside from lobster, blueberries, tourism and maybe L.L. Bean, Maine is not known for its' industry.

The closest career that I can think of that always seems to be in demand are nurses and EMT's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
3) One thing I am curious about is this.......are there people who live in Southern Maine who commute to areas such as Northern Mass for jobs. Is it something that is legitimately feasible?
Yes, there are people who make this commute and despite all of the toll booths along the way, it really is not a bad drive until you get to about Revere during rush hour. If you can put up with the commute, then the higher wages in Boston could be worth it.

As others have said, there is the Downeaster. It does take longer then driving, but not that much longer. The train is a lot cheaper if you factor in gas, tolls, and parking (not to mention car maintenance if you commute everyday).

Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
4) Is renting expensive in maine as it is everywhere else?
This varies, and like everywhere else it all depends on how desirable the location is. Something with an ocean view in Southern Maine is going to be really high, while a shack out in BFE would not be. Here in Portland, rents on the peninsula (East End. downtown, West End) are high while the rest of the city is lower.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,512,371 times
Reputation: 1395
Quote:
Originally Posted by leedspaddy View Post
Hi folks, thanks for your opinions. If I could get a job in Maine that would be preferable than commuting to Mass. I suppose the first thing I need to do is to test the job market in Portland and Augusta even though I have no intention of moving until next year......then again if an opportunity comes up, in the mean time, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

As for trips up to Maine............there will be many before we actually move especially as my wife needs to check out the health system. She has a serious medical condition that she admitted to me was not meeting her needs down here(and is probably one of the contributing factors why she told me she wants to move back to New England)
From everything that you have said, you are really looking to move to Masschusetts, somewhere within short commute to Boston. The medical services there are among the best in the world, and the population density will enable you to have a fighting chance at landing a job that will support you.

It is said often, but people don't seem to listen or understand that Maine is a very large state considering other states in New England, yet we have only 1.2 million people in the entire state. That is a VERY small population base to support much of an economy, so unless you have a lot working for you when you come here, and quite a lot of money to support you during the transition, you will find it extremely difficult to locate and settle in if you are also working on a significant medical need.
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