The number of deaths in Maine is on pace to exceed the number of births for the second straight year, and that does not bode well for the state’s economy. U.S. Census data released Thursday shows that from July 2011 to July 2012, deaths in Maine outnumbered births, 12,857 to 12,754. Eleven of Maine’s 16 counties had these so-called natural decreases from July 2011 to July 2012, with the largest percentages in Washington and Piscataquis counties. Maine and West Virginia are the only states where deaths exceeded births from July 2011 to July 2012. State Economist Amanda Rector said the natural decreases are an economic challenge for the state because expanding businesses need to fill their workforces.