Gains To Trail Nation's For Next 4½ Years, Forecasters Say
May 25, 2007
By MARK JEWELL, Associated Pressr
BOSTON -- New England's economic gains will continue to trail the nation's growth during the next 4½ years, and the region's housing prices will keep declining through early next year, a regional economic forecast organization predicted Thursday.
The New England Economic Partnership said New Hampshire and Connecticut are the only states in the region expected to exceed the nation by certain measures of economic performance during a forecast period running through 2011.
New Hampshire's economy is expected to have the region's strongest economy, with the value of the state's goods and services keeping pace with the nation's gross product growth rate, and job growth forecast to slightly exceed the nation's. Connecticut is expected to exceed the national growth rate for personal income.
The other four New England states will slightly lag the nation by most economic measures through 2011, according to the latest twice-a-year forecast presented at the economic organization's spring conference in Boston on Thursday.
The value of New England's products and services is expected to post growth averaging 2.6 percent a year during a forecast period through 2011, compared with the 2.9 percent growth rate forecast for the nation, according to the forecast by a panel of economists.
Growth in total employment is expected to average 0.9 percent a year in New England, below the national average of 1.2 percent. Regional per capita income is forecast at 2.3 percent a year, compared with the nation's 2.5 percent.
Those trends are in line with economic data from recent years that have shown New England lagging the nation, and trailing far behind fast-growing regions, such as the South and Southwest.
After eight consecutive quarters of declines beginning during a recession in 2001, the number of jobs in New England finally began to increase in the second quarter of 2003.
The housing slump that began to ripple across much of the nation's housing market last year has hit especially hard in New England and is not expected to go away soon.
The forecast organization said it expects median housing prices in New England to decline through the second quarter of next year, with the steepest price declines expected in the final three quarters of this year. A slow recovery is expected beginning in mid-2008, but the region's housing prices aren't expected to return to their historic pre-slump peak until the middle of 2010.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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