If the forecast for the New England Economic Partnership proves true, Connecticut is going to have a terrible year for job growth.
Ed Deak, professor emeritus of economics at Fairfield University, projects that there will be just 5,500 positions added at the state’s employers during the year. There have been 6,300 added since January, so for that forecast to match reality, employers would have to cut more jobs than they add the rest of the year.
His forecast for 2012 was overly gloomy, as the state added 8,600 jobs, far more than the 4,900 he projected. But Deak said he thinks if anything, this forecast is too optimistic.
Deak says Connecticut’s recovery will be hurt disproportionately by the federal budget cuts known as sequestration, and he thinks the construction hiring that’s been strong this spring is temporary, based on Sandy repairs, rather than stemming from a rebound in housing.
Deak is projecting robust growth won’t arrive until 2015, though he suggests the economy will roar back that year, with 29,700 jobs added. The state hasn’t added that many jobs in a single year in a generation.
“To have Connecticut do 22,000 would be a banner year,” Deak said.
Deak said it’s troubling that both Massachusetts and New York have recovered all the jobs that were lost during the recession, while Connecticut is still just 47 percent of the way back.
And while the NEEP conference theme Thursday is about a manufacturing renaissance, Deak said Connecticut’s manufacturing data is sobering.
First of all, there were 2,500 fewer manufacturing jobs in April than there were a year earlier. Second, the losses in durable goods manufacturing — the higher-paid jobs — were far more dramatic than in the rest of manufacturing.
Data on manufacturing production job pay, too, tells that story, as the average hourly wage fell by nearly 10 percent over the year, to $24.83 an hour.
“Those companies that are repatriating jobs back into the United States,” Deak said, they’re choosing the Southeast, “where it’s less expensive to do business.”