Thursday, May 19, 2011

Progress comes slowly on jobs front

BOSTON GLOBE: State unemployment rate falls to 7.8% in April
The state unemployment rate in April fell to 7.8 percent, down from 8 percent in March, which was then the lowest point in nearly two years, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said this morning.

The executive office's preliminary job estimates indicate that the state's economy added 19,500 jobs last month. The private sector added 20,500 jobs while government lost 1,000 jobs, the office said in

The national unemployment rate is currently 9 percent.

Economic sectors adding jobs in the Bay State last month included leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and manufacturing, the executive office said in a press release.
It may not feel it but the jobs are coming back to Massachusetts.

Economists at this morning's New England Economic Partnership conference at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank are mildly optimistic. The economy both nationally and locally is getting better but we won't really feel the thrust of job growth until 2013 when things are expected to move more briskly in Massachusetts.

Monday, May 16, 2011

NABE revises GDP estimates downward

Economy will grow more slowly than expected.
NEW YORK Economists are dialing back their expectations for U.S. economic growth this year.

A survey from the National Association for Business Economics predicts GDP will grow 2.8 percent this year - down from the group's February prediction that it would grow 3.3 percent. Their outlook for consumer spending and the housing market also weakened, in part because they expect oil prices to remain above $100 a barrel through 2012.

In a survey that the NABE releases Monday, a panel of 41 economists also said they "remain highly concerned" about the growing federal deficit, and said that growth in the first three months of the year had been weaker than expected.

The predictions of the economists reflect the jitteriness of a public that is still recovering from the financial crisis and now getting squeezed by rising prices for gas, groceries and other household items. Retailers of all stripes are paying more for the raw materials they need to make and transport their products, such as fuel, cotton and wood pulp, and saying they have no choice but to pass along the price increases to customers.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

State tax collections surge

DOR: "Total tax collections of $16.860 billion are up $1.927 billion or 12.9 percent, $732 million over benchmark" for April.

It's all about the entitlements

Jeffrey Miron explains the very big elephant in the room.