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Forecast Sees Slow Economic Growth In New England

BOSTON — A new report (PDF) predicts continued sluggish economic growth in New England and cautions that most states in the region will not return to pre-recession employment levels until 2015.

The four-year forecast released Wednesday by the New England Economic Partnership says Massachusetts (see the Massachusetts summary), New Hampshire and Vermont will have the strongest economies in the six-state region, while Rhode Island will continue to experience the highest unemployment.

The economists said Maine and Connecticut will also struggle to reach pre-recession jobs levels before the end of 2016.

“We expect it to continue [to be] slow through the next couple quarters, the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2013. And then: very slowly accelerate,” said Alan Clayton-Matthews, one of the economists on the panel.

The forecast assumes some sort of compromise in the ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations, but warns that New England, because of its higher than average per capita income, could be hit harder than the nation as a whole if there is no deal and taxes go up.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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