Maine could return to pre-recession job levels by 2015 — two years ahead of previous forecasts — as the state’s economy begins to show signs of life and the nation’s economy signals a faster-than-expected recovery.

“Beyond 2012, job growth accelerates along with the national economy in 2013-16 to a rate of 1 percent per year or more, a growth rate not seen in Maine in more than a decade,” said the New England Economic Partnership.

That forecast accelerates the period of recovery to pre-recessionary levels to 2015, ahead of the previous forecast of 2017, the group said.

“This change is primarily the result of the shift in the underlying national forecast scenario,” the partnership said.

In addition to a net loss of government jobs, there will be net reduction in the construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and information sectors, as well, the group said.

The shift to a service-related economy from a goods-related economy has weighed on jobs for decades. That cycle was compounded by the sharp decline and slow recovery in construction jobs, the group said. The recession, however, also led to job losses in other sectors, such as office workers, where there is no “skills mismatch” to explain the decline, the group said.


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