Economists Expect Modest Growth In 2012

01/13/12 4:04PM By Steve Zind

(Host)  Vermont can expect continued modest economic growth in 2012.  That was the message Friday at the annual Vermont Economic Outlook Conference in South Burlington.

According to Richard Heaps of the Vermont Economy Newsletter, which organized the conference, job growth will be led by the professional and business services field.  Heaps says these are generally good paying jobs.

Because the state's workforce grows very little, Vermont businesses don't have to create a large number of jobs to lower the unemployment rate. 

But Heaps says even as unemployment goes down, the lack of job growth in Vermont contributes to the problem of young people leaving the state to work elsewhere. 

(Heaps) "With our job growth being this low, it's hard always to match up the worker with the job.  And if they don't match, one choice is to leave.  You can't afford to lose young people because first of all they're good workers, they're your future.  Second of all they're innovators.  They do different things than older folks do. This is a problem that's not easily solved.  You don't just create a commission and pass a budget and make a change.

(Host) Heaps says in the long term the number of workers in Vermont will decline.  Older workers will retire and if current trends hold there won't be enough young workers to take their place. 

Heaps says other New England states are confronting the same problem.

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