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NE econ. to slowly grow in next 4 years, forecast suggests

Although the New England economy will not hit pre-recession employment levels until 2015, college graduates in 2014 will likely face a decent job market, experts said.

Ross Gittell, vice president and forecast manager at the New England Economic Partnership, said that although Massachusetts is on a path of recovery, the economy remains still weak.

“New England’s economy in the next four years will be stronger than the last four years, but there will continue to be a slow-growing economy,” he said.

The NEEP forecast predicts that Massachusetts is expected to perform better than other northern states, according to the Dec. 5 report.

The NEEP economists cite reasons for the weak New England economy, including the potential implications of the so-called fiscal cliff and the weak European economy, according to a press release from NEEP.

Jobs in Massachusetts will hit pre-recession numbers by the first half of 2014, according to the Massachusetts economic outlook NEEP released. The Commonwealth’s economy will experience moderate growth in 2013 before expanding two years thereafter.

The employment level throughout New England will not reach pre-recession levels until 2015, according to the New England regional economic outlook.

“We expect 2013 to continue to be a slow growth year and then we expect growth to pick up in 2014 and 2015,” Gittell said.

Gittell said Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire would have the strongest economies throughout this four-year forecast, with Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island having the weakest economies.

But Gittell said 2014 college graduates can still expect a decent job market.

“The graduates in the spring of 2014 will have a better job market,” he said. “It’s still not a strong market for college graduates, but I think that by 2014, 2015, there will be good jobs available for students in the Boston metropolitan area.”

Some Boston-area college students said they were concerned about the bleak economic forecast.

“Youth unemployment has been really bleak for basically the whole time that I’ve been here,” said Nora Burke, a senior in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “So it’s really disheartening what’s going on in Washington, and I don’t really know what they could do about it except stop inhibiting job creation and economic growth.”

Burke said people her age should be anxious about impending economic troubles.

“It is a concern, and if it’s not a concern to people of our age group, then it should be, because it really doesn’t look good,” Burke said.

Brett Loewenstern, a first semester student at the Berklee College of Music who aspires to get a job in music, said he worries about finding a job in general.

“I am definitely worried because it’s a hard industry, and it’s not just the job industry, but the music industry’s very hard too,” he said.

But some other students, particularly those majoring in the sciences, said they are not worried about job prospects.

Daniel Reeves, a sophomore at Bunker Hill Community College, said students graduating in 2015 and 2016 would hopefully be graduating to a good economy.

“In the future I want to go into research, and I am fairly optimistic that I will be able to find a job in the future,” he said.

Reeves said he is not sure he will get the research job he is looking for because of talk of cutting spending, particularly in the sciences, although he will probably still be able to get a job.

CAS freshman Malek Slama said she feels confident she can get a job after school.

“Maybe I have a false sense of stability, but I’m a neuroscience major,” Slam said. “I think there’s always a very high demand for researchers, doctors — any kind of medical specific career.”

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