Maine economist says new payroll tax code will help state

Growth of Maine's economy will lag behind national trends, but state employees will receive a boost due to the payroll tax holiday, stated Charles Colgan, an economist at the University of Southern Maine, to the Bangor Daily News.

Colgan, who is also a research fellow at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and chief economist at the National Ocean Economics Program, told a collection of hundreds of Maine's business leaders that new payroll regulations may help spur employment in the the Pine Tree State.

However, Colgan acknowledged Maine - like the rest of the country - faces an uphill challenge to improve unemployment numbers after two years of what he called a "jobless recovery," meaning productivity and revenues have increased but unemployment numbers have stagnated.

Colgan forecasts 1 percent job growth for the state in 2011 - roughly 6,000 jobs - before hiring begins to accelerate in following years, reaching pre-recession levels in 2014.

"There are a lot of factors in the U.S economy and in Maine that suggest the very weak job performance over the past year is ending and we should get back to positive job growth," Colgan stated, according to The Associated Press.

Maine's current unemployment rate sits at 6.7 percent, down from a recession peak of 9.4 percent in February 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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