Economic growth in Connecticut and Maine lag behind in recovery
Hartford - Economic growth in New England has been slowest in Connecticut and Maine since the end of the recession in 2009, according to new federal statistics released Wednesday.
Quarterly gross domestic product - the value of all goods and services - from 2005 to 2013 was released by the U.S. Commerce Department, which said the statistics will provide a "more complete picture of economic growth" in each state.
From the second quarter of 2009 until the end of 2013, the economies of Connecticut, the region's second largest, and Maine grew by 3 percent.
In contrast, Massachusetts' economy, the largest in New England, expanded by 11 percent, to $424.4 million from mid-2009 to 2013.
The growth rate was greatest in Vermont, at 12 percent, though the state's $27.9 million economy last year was the smallest in New England.
Economic growth was 9 percent in New Hampshire. Even in Rhode Island, where high unemployment persists, the economy grew by 6 percent from mid-2009 to the end of last year. The state's economy was the hardest hit in the region during the recession and Rhode Islanders are "getting a bigger bounce back because they have to," said Charles Colgan, professor at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.
The U.S. economy expanded by 10 percent.
The Great Recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, though the recovery nationwide has been lackluster and unemployment in most states has retreated slowly.
The size of Connecticut's economy was $229.5 million in the second quarter of 2009 and increased to $236 million last year. The economy - its slow improvement, unemployment of 6.6 percent in July and other factors - will likely play a key role in the race between Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his Republican rival, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley.
"What we know about the Connecticut economy is it's coming back inch by inch, not yard by yard," said economist Don Klepper-Smith, who was an adviser to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. "To many people, it does not feel like an economic recovery."
Connecticut's finance industry, which is significant in the state because of its proximity to New York's financial center, contracted since the end of the recession. The size of the finance and insurance sector shrank 11 percent, from $36.2 million in mid-2009 to $32.3 million last year.
In Maine, the problem has been that the state's economy has not shared in the strong jobs recovery in Massachusetts in biotechnology, health care, information technology and other industries, Colgan said.
Maine's economy grew from $50 million to about $51.5 million from 2009 to 2013.
Growth in the leisure and hospitality industry and business and professional services were small and among the last to improve, Colgan said.
"We're late coming out of recessions," he said.