2008 economic recession by localh

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									Contact: Susan Houston                          Ross Gittell
         President                              Vice President, Forecast Manager
         New England Economic Partnership       New England Economic Partnership
         781-489-6262                           603-862-3340
         shouston@massecon.com                  ross.gittell@unh.edu


 BOSTON, Mass. (November 20, 2008) – The New England Economic
Partnership (NEEP) released new economic forecasts for the U.S., the New England
Region and each of the six New England states at its Fall Economic Outlook
Conference held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston today.

NEEP economists anticipate a significant recession, with difficult challenges ahead
for the New England economy. The broadening and deepening impact of the global
credit crisis was cited as a major source of New England’s current problems. The
crisis now has extended from the housing market, to construction, to the financial
sector, to retail trade and beyond to other sectors of the regional economy.
Lowered consumer and business confidence have already led to declining sales and
investment and employment. Declining employment is expected to further reduce
consumer and business confidence, contributing to further reductions in spending
and more layoffs. NEEP economists expect this negative cycle to persist in the
regional economy well through much, if not all, of 2009.

During the forecast period the region is expected to lose about 250,000 jobs, or 3.6
percent of its employment. Total employment in the region is expected to decline
through the remainder of the decade and then remain virtually flat through 2011.
Unemployment is expected to rise to its highest rate since 1992, from its September
rate of 6 percent to over 8 percent in mid-2010 but remaining below the national
average. The comparatively favorable forecast compared to the nation is due to the
relatively high level of educational attainment and slow growth in the labor force in
the region.

Among the New England states, Rhode Island is expected to have the highest
unemployment, peaking at 10.3 percent. All the other states in the region are
expected to have unemployment peaks below the U.S. rate. Maine is expected to
have the second highest unemployment in the region, with a peak of 8.7 percent.
Connecticut and Massachusetts are anticipated to have unemployment peaks of 8.3
percent, and Vermont (6.9 percent) and New Hampshire (7.4 percent) are expected
to experience the lowest unemployment peaks in the region.

Real per capita income in the region and nation are expected to decline sharply in
the 4th quarter of 2008 -- at a 4.4 percent annualized rate -- and then be flat through
2009. Real income per capita is expected to rise only modestly after 2009 – not
reaching 3 percent growth until 2011. This decline in real per capita income growth
in New England is expected to be higher in this recession than in the three previous
recessions and greater than the national average in this recession. It is anticipated
that this decline will contribute to a more pronounced and prolonged employment
decline in New England than in other regions.

Housing prices in all states in the region except Vermont have been experiencing
sharp decline, but the “good news” is that New England’s housing declines are not
as sharp as those being seen in the more “over-heated” housing markets in
California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona and also in some of the depressed markets
in the Midwest. In addition, mortgage past due rates are below the national average
in five of the six states – all except Rhode Island. The peak-to-trough decline in the
region in median housing prices is expected to be 22 percent – less than the
forecasted peak-to-trough national decline of 30 percent.

“While NEEP’s forecast is for a deeper and more prolonged recession than
forecasted by Moody’s economy.com and some other pundits, the projected
employment decline and unemployment rates are in line with prior recessions,” said
Ross Gittell, NEEP Vice President and James R. Carter professor at the University
of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics. “The
employment decline forecast for the region is very close to the percentage decline in
employment in the last recession in the early 2000s in the region and it is
significantly less than the employment decline in the early 1990s recession when
the region lost nearly 10 percent of its employment base. In each of the last three
recessions, however, the percentage decline in employment in New England was
more pronounced and more prolonged than the national average. This is forecast to
be the case again in this recession.”

Looking further ahead, a weak economic recovery is expected across the region,
due mainly to the extensive credit market and economic challenges and the
anticipated long time period required to work through them. The recovery is
expected to be weaker and slower in New England than in the nation, and the
region’s relatively high concentration in business investment and high income
dependent industries will contribute to a more pronounced and extended
employment decline in New England than nationally. By the end of the forecast
period (end of 2011) the region is expected to have 157,000 fewer jobs, or 2.2
percent , than at the beginning of 2008.

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody’s Economy.com opened the conference
with a presentation on the U.S. economy. He noted that the year-long recession is
intensifying, with nearly 1.2 million jobs lost since the beginning of 2008 – more
than 500,000 in just the past two months. Unemployment has surged to 6.5
percent, the highest rate since the early 1990s. Zandi commented that due to
massive intervention by the Federal Reserve and other global central banks, many
short-term financial markets have performed somewhat better than before the
interventions. The Fed’s moves are anticipated to promote stability; however, even
if they succeed as expected, a substantial amount of damage has already been done
to underlying confidence.
Consumer confidence plunged in October to its lowest reading since the Conference
Board began its survey more than 40 years ago. It was noted that this is all the
more surprising given the sharp drop in gasoline prices during the month, which
usually improves household spirits.

“The outlook has darkened rapidly in recent weeks,” said Zandi. “Real GDP is
expected to fall through the second quarter of 2009 and post a decline for the year
as a whole. The unemployment rate is expected to rise through early 2010, peaking
at 8 percent. This represents a dramatic change in the forecast. As recently as the
August outlook, 2009 real GDP was projected to be near 1.5 percent. This is the
largest change in the outlook in such a short period since Moody’s Economy.com
began forecasting the US macro economy nearly 20 years ago. Moreover, until the
financial system is stabilized and policymakers take the steps expected, risks to this
outlook remain firmly to the downside. The longer financial markets remain
unsettled, the less credit will flow, the bigger the hit to household wealth, and the
longer confidence will founder.”

In conclusion, Zandi stated, “Without substantial fiscal stimulus and a much larger
foreclosure mitigation plan, the economy’s slide will be much longer and deeper.
The Great Depression occurred in significant part because of government missteps
and inaction. That is a lesson that today’s policymakers must heed.”

Today’s conference, sponsored by A.D. Makepeace, and also featured keynote
speaker Tom Curry, a director of the FDIC, who remarks focused on the security of
the financial system.

The New England Economic Partnership is a nonprofit economic forecasting
organization that has been tracking and analyzing the regional economy since 1971.
Its members include financial institutions, utilities, insurance providers, government

agencies, academic institutions, business services firms, health care organizations,
and others.


Contact:        Edward Deak, Ph.D.                         Ross Gittell
                Connecticut Forecast Manager               Vice President, NEEP Forecast Manager
                New England Economic Partnership           New England Economic Partnership
                203-254-4000, Ext. 2866                    603-862-3340
                deak@mail.fairfield.edu                    ross.gittell@unh.edu


In discussing current conditions in the Connecticut economy, NEEP forecasters today noted that the state
registered a decrease of 2.3k jobs from 8/08-9/08, despite having recorded year-over job gains from Jan-
Sept 2008. State employment is down by -4.1k from its job peak of 1.7065m in 12/07, and the
unemployment rate at 6.1 percent is well above the 4.4 percent low recorded in the first six months of

“Despite these numbers, Connecticut is relatively better off (so far) than the 760k jobs that have been lost
in the US since the start of 2008,” said Edward Deak, Professor of Economics at Fairfield University and
Connecticut Forecast Chair. “Connecticut has been late to feel the broader job loss because of its failure
to be an aggressive participant in the housing boom-bust cycle that is at the heart of the early phase of the
recession. However, the state is expected to be relatively harder hit by the second phase as the financial
crisis leads to substantial reductions in the high income jobs that have been a major pillar of the
Connecticut expansion.”

NEEP forecasters anticipate that the restructuring of the U.S. financial services industry including Wall
Street, insurance, and commercial plus investment banking will undermine the Connecticut recovery,
causing slower job and income growth. The state will be late to emerge from the recession with a peak
unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in 10:Q2 and job losses of 15k in 2010. Jobs lost in Connecticut in the
recession are unlikely to be regained until sometime in late 2012 and possibly beyond.

Absent overbuilding and reckless lending, the housing recession arrived later in Connecticut than the
U.S., but housing is expected to be weak through the end of 2009. Existing single family Connecticut
home median sale prices peaked at $326.8k in 07:Q4, but have fallen to $285.5 in 08:Q3, and may drop to
a low of $232.2 in 10:Q2.

Contact:        Charles Colgan                              Ross Gittell
                Maine Forecast Manager                      Vice President, NEEP Forecast Manager
                New England Economic Partnership            New England Economic Partnership
                207-780-4008                                603-862-3340
                colgan@maine.edu                            ross.gittell@unh.edu


At today’s outlook conference, NEEP forecasters noted that the state faces a recession of some
depth and length. The forecast shows a decline in Maine employment of more than 17,000 jobs
from peak in 20007 Q4 to the third quarter of 2010, a decline of 2.9 percent. This will be
considerably more serious than the most recent recession in Maine in 2001, but well short of the
disastrous 1990-91 recession. The closing of Naval Air Station Brunswick during the forecast
period will result in the major outmigration of military personnel and their families in 2009 and
early 2010, right in the depths of the recession. Given the relentless losses in Maine’s
manufacturing industries over the past several decades, however, the forecast relatively mild job
losses in manufacturing must be counted as a bright spot.

Like the rest of the U.S., Maine has been suffering from problems in the housing sector.
Residential housing permits declined by nearly 40 percent through the first three quarters of 2008
compared with the same period a year earlier, and existing home sales were down nearly 18
percent. But the median house price had fallen only 4 percent through the first part of 2008
compared with the same period in 2007, and wage and salary employment in construction was
down only about 1,000 jobs, or 3.4 percent.

“Looking ahead, several major construction projects in connection with wind energy development
and modernization of the electric transmission grid in Maine count as bright spots, said Charles
Colgan, Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public
Service at the University of Southern Maine, and Maine Forecast Chair. “None of these projects
has cleared regulatory hurdles yet and so are not built into the forecast. However, if they are built
the projects together will employ perhaps 2,000-3,000 people. While many of those hired would
be specialized construction workers from outside the state, the projects would clearly soften the
blow of the recession.”


Contact:         Alan Clayton-Matthews                      Ross Gittell
                 Massachusetts Forecast Manager             Vice President, NEEP Forecast Manager
                 New England Economic Partnership           New England Economic Partnership
                 617-287-6945                               603-862-3340
                 alan.clayton-matthews@comcast.net          ross.gittell@unh.edu

                    SEEN UNTIL MID-2010

At today’s Fall Outlook Conference, NEEP forecasters said that the Massachusetts economy has entered a
recession that will last through the first half of next year, although job growth will not return until the
middle of 2010. Massachusetts payroll employment is projected to decline by 4.1 percent between the
peak in the second quarter of 2008 to the trough in the third quarter of 2010, or by approximately 135,000
jobs. In the dot-com recession of 2001, the state lost 205,000 or 6.1 percent of its jobs, and in the
recession of the late 1980s/early 1990s, Massachusetts lost 356,000 or 11.3 percent of its jobs.

On an annual basis (fourth quarter to fourth quarter), real gross state domestic product is expected to slow
from 2.0 percent growth in 2007 to 1.3 percent growth in 2008, and 0.3 percent growth in 2009. In the
last three years of the forecast period 2010 through 2012, annual average growth is projected to be 3.1
percent. Personal income growth will slow from 6.3 percent in 2007 (on a fourth-quarter to fourth-quarter
basis) to 1.8 percent in 2008. In real terms the growth rates are 2.8 percent and -2.0 percent respectively.

Housing production in the state has slowed to a crawl, and the fall in house prices is expected to continue
through the first half of 2010, with a cumulative price decline, on a seasonally-adjusted quarterly basis, of
21 percent from the peak in the third quarter of 2005 to the trough in the second quarter of 2010.

“It’s difficult to see how the economy could perform better over the next year or two than the scenario
embodied in this forecast,” noted Alan Clayton-Matthews, Associate Professor, McCormack Graduate
School of Policy Studies, UMass Boston and Massachusetts Forecast Chair. “It is easier to imagine
scenarios that are worse, if only because of the time required for the economy to turn around given its
downward momentum. It appears that asset prices for both stocks and real estate are overshooting on the
downside, with consequent effects on the real economy through falling wealth and falling expectations
that affect both consumer and investment demand. This vicious downward spiral will take some time to
correct itself and turn around.”

Contact:         Dennis C. Delay                           Ross Gittell
                 N.H. Forecast Manager                     Vice President, NEEP Forecast Manager
                 New England Economic Partnership          New England Economic Partnership
                 603-226-2500                              603-862-3340
                 ddelay@nhpolicy.org                       ross.gittell@unh.edu

                  AS RECESSION LOOMS

NEEP forecasters today commented on the comparative strength of the New Hampshire
economy, as the state enters the recessionary period in a stronger position than the rest of the New
England states and the nation as a whole. Unemployment rates in New Hampshire have remained
below the U.S. average, and though housing prices in the state have fallen, they are not
anticipated to drop as much as has been the case in parts of California and Florida.

Granite State manufacturing related to national defense and precision instruments is expanding,
while motor vehicle related manufacturing is in recession. Manufacturing jobs in the state
declined at a -1.8 percent annual rate in the last five years (2002 to 2007) and the decline in New
Hampshire manufacturing jobs will slow to a -0.2 percent average loss each year in the forecast

New Hampshire single-family residential home sales have fallen 42 percent from the peak, from
17,000 units sold in 2004 to about 10,000 estimated for 2008. Housing prices have so far held up
much better, declining 11 percent from $269,900 in 2005 to an estimated $240,000 in 2008. The
inflation adjusted price in 2008 is now lower than the 2003 price.

“Few doubt that we are in a recession now,” said Dennis C. Delay, Deputy Director, New
Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies and New Hampshire Forecast Chair. “Dark days are
ahead, for New Hampshire and the world economy, but New Hampshire’s financial distress is not
as severe as that in other parts of the country, given the fact that consumers are consistently
making their credit card payments on time and unemployment rates in the state have remained
below the US average.”

Contact:        Edinaldo Tebaldi          Edward Mazze             Ross Gittell
                RI Forecast Co-Chair      RI Forecast Co-Chair     VP, NEEP Forecast Manager
                NEEP                      NEEP                     NEEP
                401-232-6901              401-874-4308             603-862-3340
                etebaldi@bryant.edu       emazze@uri.edu           ross.gittell@unh.edu

                       UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN US

At today’s outlook conference, NEEP forecasters said that the Rhode Island economy shrank 0.39
percent in September and 1.34 percent over the third quarter – one of the fastest rates in the
nation. The decline was due to the loss of jobs, a credit crunch brought about by subprime
mortgages, the support of financial institutions by the federal government, the deterioration of the
housing market, high energy costs and the state’s budget deficit. In September, Rhode Island’s
unemployment rate of 8.8 percent was the highest in the United States.

Unemployment is forecasted to be 9.5 percent in 2009 and 10.2 percent in 2010. The
unemployment rate will not be below 8 percent until 2012. The annual growth rate of real GDP
will be 0.2 percent in 2009 – in 2010 it is expected to grow by 5.4 percent.

Housing continues to become more affordable in the state as the average median price of a home
declines. The median price of a home in 2008 was $263.3 thousand and is expected to be $230.5
in 2009. By 2011 the median price of a home is forecast to be $203 thousand, an $80,000
reduction from 2007.

“Rhode Island had a budget deficit of $430 million for FY2008. To balance the budget, the state
made substantial cuts in personnel, health and social programs and higher education, and the
state’s FY 2009 budget is more than $65 million in deficit as of early November and is expected
to increase,” said Edward Mazze, Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration
in the College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island
Forecast Chair. “The challenges facing job growth and economic development in the state
continue to be a lack of leadership in both public and private sectors, high tax rates, an unfriendly
business, environment, dependence on public jobs rather than private employment and a poorly
performing education system.”


Contact:         Jeffrey B. Carr                            Ross Gittell
                 Vermont Forecast Chair                     Vice President, NEEP Forecast Manager
                 New England Economic Partnership           New England Economic Partnership
                 802-878-0346, x108                         603-862-3340
                 jbc@epreconomics.com                       ross.gittell@unh.edu


NEEP forecasters today said that the Vermont economy has followed that of the U.S. into what is
anticipated to be a lengthy period of economic recession. As is the case with the rest of the
country, a slow, historically restrained rate of recovery is expected.

Payroll jobs will decline through the second quarter of calendar year 2010, followed by a gradual
recovery, with improvements in the rate of job growth in the final two years of the forecast
period. GSP, with the exception of the initial recession year of the forecast in calendar 2008, will
rebound and recover at a slightly slower pace than New England as a whole from 2009 to 2010,
and then at a slightly stronger rate in 2012. The unemployment rate will rise to levels not
experienced since the early 1990s, but will remain below that of both the New England region
and the U.S. Vermont’s unemployment rate is forecast to rise to a maximum of 6.7 percent in
2010, well below New England’s projected maximum of 8.3 percent.

Despite having had one of the lowest delinquency rates in the country and region so far,
delinquencies are rising in Vermont and the forecast indicates that the housing market will
continue to be a drag on the pace of the state’s economic forward progress over at least the next
18 months. “The most thorough analysis of the Vermont economy indicates that the state is
currently in a full-fledged economic downturn that likely began in December of 2007,” said Jeff
Carr, vice president and economist, Economic and Policy Resources, Inc. and NEEP Vermont
forecast chair. “The worst economic recession for the U.S. economy since the early 1980s is
going to produce a recession in Vermont and the entire New England region that in many respects
will be the deepest and longest since the 1989-91 downturn. If that forecast holds, the current
economic recession in Vermont will be the most significant state economic recession since World
War II, except for that very difficult 1989-91 downturn.”


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