2013 is off to a promising start — but don’t get used to it. 

In a preview of his Maine forecast for the New England Economic Partnership conference in Boston on Thursday, Charlie Colgan said that he revised his estimate for the end of recession in Maine to late 2016.

One year ago, he’d forecast late 2015.

“Because we’re doing another one of these promising start and disappointing finish scenarios, it’s pushed back the recovery date on employment,” said Colgan, a professor at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School for Public Service and former state economist.

He blamed the recent federal sequestration and a boggy national economy for that slowdown.

Industries that he sees growing in Maine: Professional and business services (lawyers, accountants, engineers, consultants), leisure and hospitality and, to a lesser degree, health care.

Manufacturing, Colgan said, has “lost the jobs that we’re going to lose — I don’t see us losing a lot more.”

“I expect towards the end of the forecast period, 2016, 2017, 2018, lumber and wood products to pick up some as construction picks up a little more robustly in the Northeast,” he said. “But the paper industry does not look like it’s got much of a recovery in front of it.”

Maine lost 29,000 jobs in the recent recession and has gained 6,000 back, according to the Department of Labor.

Across New England, Massachusetts has already recovered all the jobs it lost, according to Ross Gittell, NEEP’s forecast manager and the Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Vermont has gained back 90 percent, New Hampshire 50 percent, Connecticut 45 percent, Rhode Island 25 percent and Maine 20 percent.

Gittell said it would be mid-2014 before the region would see “significant pick up” in growth.

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New England economy to outpace Maine

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A group of economists says New England is recovering from the worst recession in decades, with the strongest gains in Massachusetts and Vermont, while Rhode Island and Maine lag.

The New England Economic Partnership said Wednesday that external factors such as Europe’s recession and federal spending cuts made in Washington are crimping the region’s economy.

Through 2016, employment in New England is forecast to grow an average of 1.4 percent a year and economic growth will average 3.3 percent a year.

With slow growth, the region is not expected to return to its pre-recession employment level until 2015. The unemployment rate will remain lower than the U.S. average, but is not expected to be below 6 percent until 2015.

The housing market is posting increases in prices, sales, construction and employment.


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