State House News Service

Forecast: N.E. Won’t Hit Pre-Recession Job Levels Until 2015

BOSTON — The New England economy will continue its slow growth rate, with the region likely to return to pre-recession employment levels sometime in 2015, according to a forecast released Tuesday morning in advance of a conference in Boston on Thursday.

Economists with the New England Economic Project see overall economic growth in New England averaging 3.3 percent per year through 2016 with employment growth averaging 1.4 percent over that period.

The regional housing market is helping to drive growth while weaknesses in the European economy and the impacts of federal spending cuts are hurting the area’s economy, according to the forecast.

Among the New England states, Vermont and Massachusetts are seeing stronger recoveries while growth is lagging in Rhode Island and Maine, according to the NEEP economists. Massachusetts earlier this year reached its pre-recession employment levels.

Economists expect New England manufacturing employment to increase by about 1.3 percent from 2013 to 2016, with the potential for even stronger growth if the sector syncs up with the region’s research and development strengths.

Summaries of state forecasts are scheduled for release on Wednesday morning, one day ahead of a conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston sponsored by The New England Council.

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