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Report: Alabama went into recession in 2011

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s economy went into recession in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The report found the state economy shrank by 0.8 percent last year, thanks to contraction in the state’s real estate, construction, agriculture and mining sectors. Overall, the state’s real GDP shrunk from about $151.5 billion in 2010 to $150.3 billion in 2011, the report said.

A University of Alabama economist, however, disagreed with the report’s estimates, saying the state’s manufacturing sector was buoying the economy.

Alabama did worse in 2011 than all but one state, but Catherine Wang, an official with the Bureau who helped write the report, said the patterns were similar in other states.

“In most of the states, we see some growth, but not a lot,” she said.

But Ahmad Ijaz, director of economic forecasting for the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said the state’s manufacturing sector – the largest single employer in Alabama after government – was doing well.

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“We are doing relatively better than other states, which were hit very hard by housing recession,” he said.

Ijaz said he projected growth of one to 1.5 percent for 2011, which he believed would be “revised upward.”

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ report said manufacturing contributed 0.09 percent to the state’s GDP growth last year.

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