Economic recovery in Vt. likely in 2011-12, report says (Burlington Free Press)

By Dan McLean
Free Press Staff Writer

Vermont is still wallowing in recession and will not return to "normal" growth rates until 2011 or 2012, according to an economic forecast that will be presented today in Boston.

The pace of the recovery is projected to be "halting and insecure."

"By the time the recession in Vermont is over, it will have been the harshest economic downturn in the state since the Great Depression," according to the report written by Jeff Carr, president of Economic & Policy Resources Inc. and economic adviser to the governor, and economist Zachary Sears.

The total job loss from the recession in Vermont is anticipated to be 22,500 jobs.

The forecast states payroll jobs will have declined for 11 consecutive quarters, or through mid-2010. Vermont's jobs recovery "will be slower" than seen nationally, the report says.

The unemployment rate, 7.2 percent in March, is expected to reach levels not experienced since 1983 and inflation adjusted wages for Vermonters is expected to decline this year and next year and resume growth in 2011. Wage growth, however, will begin to rise one year sooner in New England and in the U.S. than in Vermont, the report said.

"The Vermont economy will follow the U.S. economy and experience a slow, restrained pace of recovery out of the current recession, with employment effects lingering through the middle of calendar 2010," the report said.

The report will be presented at the New England Economic Partnership at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at a conference titled, "Can We Afford the Future? The Fiscal and Economic Outlook for New England."