Assumption Professor: Worcester’s Economic Growth Accelerates in Second Quarter
The Worcester-area economy continued to grow at a strong pace during the second quarter of 2014, according to the latest estimates of the Worcester Economic Index (WEI), which was released this week by Assumption College Economics Professor Thomas White, Ph.D.
During the second quarter, the WEI increased at an annual rate of 7.9 percent, building on the revised 5.2 percent growth estimate of the first quarter due to strong gains in the labor market.
“The local labor market continues to improve,” said Professor White. “The local unemployment rate is now around 6 percent, which is the lowest it has been since late 2008. This is due to a substantial pickup in hiring. According to the payroll survey, firms added about 3,800 workers during the second quarter, compared to only 1,100 during the first quarter of the year.”
The economy is expected to continue to grow at a relatively strong rate over the next three-to-six months. According to the report, growth of the WEI over the second half of 2014 is expected to be about 4.5 percent on an annual basis. This forecast is based on the past performance of the WEI as well as several leading indicators of the national economy.
Other indicators of the local economy are also encouraging. The number of help-wanted ads posted online, the number of new residential building permits, and the number of business incorporations have all increased in recent months, while the number of state-wide initial unemployment claims has fallen. All are positive signals of future economic performance.
“Of the national and local indicators I follow for this report, all point to continued growth of the WEI in the coming months,” said Professor White.
The next release of Worcester Economic Indicators will be in early November.