Steady Growth Continues for Worcester Economy
The greater Worcester economy grew at roughly 1.9 percent during the third quarter of 2017, up slightly from the revised 1.7 percent turned in during the second quarter, according to the latest update of the Worcester Economic Index (WEI). The WEI, which is included in Worcester Economic Indicators, a report released each quarter by Assumption College Professor of Economics Thomas White, Ph.D., is an estimate of local economic activity based on recent employment and unemployment data for the Worcester area.
“Local economic performance continues to grow at a steady pace,” said Prof. White. “Over the past year the region has added about 2,200 jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey. And Worcester’s September unemployment rate of 3.7 percent is below both the Massachusetts and U.S. rates. These factors contributed to the growth in the Worcester Economic Index.”
In addition to the updated WEI figures, each issue of Worcester Economic Indicators includes a six-month growth forecast of the index. The latest forecast, based on data through September, projects growth at a 1.3-percent annualized rate over the next two quarters. “Currently, none of the leading indicators used in the WEI forecast are providing strong positive or negative signals,” added Prof. White. “As a result the most recent forecast is consistent with the long-run trend growth of the Worcester economy.”
Two local leading indicators were also discussed in the report. Third-quarter new business incorporations in the greater Worcester area were up 4.0 percent compared to 2016, while state-wide initial unemployment claims fell 1.6 percent over the same time period. Both are viewed as positive signals since incorporations may precede hiring by new firms and a drop in initial unemployment claims indicates few layoffs and a relatively strong labor market.
The next Worcester Economic Indicators report will be issued in February 2018. Additional information about this project is available here.
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College