PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A Maine economist says the state is poised to have three straight quarters of job increases for the first time since 2007, but that employment growth continues to be sluggish. The economic forecasts for New England states were released Wednesday the day before they were to be presented at the New England Economic Partnership’s fall conference in Boston. Charlie Colgan of the University of Southern Maine says he’s expecting very slow employment growth for the next 12 months, with a possible pickup in 12 to 36 months. Colgan projects that Maine will have 617,000 jobs at the end of 2017, still below the pre-recession level of 620,000 jobs. He says the housing market is recovering, but that the only measure that will return to pre-recession levels is median house price.