PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – 2014 should be a year of steady growth for Maine, but that depends on whether the national economy continues to improve, that’s according to a former state economist. University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service professor Charlie Colgan told business and education leaders Tuesday that he’s taking a more optimistic look at the economy this year than in past years. He says Maine should be able to add at least 7,000 jobs this year to the 29,000 that were lost during the recession, as it did last year. By 2017, he’s forecasting 18,000 jobs added, bringing the state close to pre-recession levels. But Colgan says Maine is on the cusp of a major demographic shift, which will bring significant economic challenges to the state.