Fairfield County Economy Improving Slowly, Expert Says

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Rae Rosen, vice president and regional economist of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, forecast how the economy will do this year for the Business Council of Fairfield County in Stamford on Friday. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — The local economy is recovering more slowly than the rest of the country, Rae Rosen, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said during the Business Council of Fairfield County’s meeting at the Stamford Marriott Hotel.

“Overall things are getting brighter, slowly,” Rosen, who serves as the bank’s vice president and regional economist, said as the guest speaker at a business council event Friday.

While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Fairfield County, 8.1 percent, was close to the rest of the country's 7.7 percent, in November, job growth has been much slower, she said. In the previous year the country added 1.8 percent more jobs in the private sector, whereas the county only added .5 percent, and the state .3 percent.

“Things have lagged a little bit,” Rosen said.

Connecticut has also seen job growth in educational and health services, with most in health, and the country has also seen increases in professional and business services, manufacturing, Rosen said. The state has seen decreases in those areas, she said.

She did say that Fairfield County may get a boost in professional and business services because New York City is seeing a push, and the county generally follows.

Home prices have also gone up over the past year in the county, 1.8 percent, and the state, .6 percent, but not anywhere close to the country, 6.3 percent, she said. Hartford County’s home prices have dropped 2.7 percent in the past year.

People should expect moderate growth this year, with things picking up in the second half of 2013, after the government deals with the fiscal cliff and the budget ceiling coming up this March, she said. A resolution to the budget ceiling will help people plan and make them more comfortable, she said.

Rosen said that the estimates she gave are hers, and not those of the bank.

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