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Worcester Economy Slowed in the Fourth Quarter of 2017

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

 

The Worcester economy grew slowly in the fourth quarter of 2017.

According to the Worcester Economic Index (WEI), the economy grew 1.0 percent in the quarter, down from the revised 1.3 percent figure that was reached in the third quarter.

“While the area continued to add jobs in the fourth quarter, this year’s numbers showed less of a seasonal bump than usual, which contributed to the slow growth of the WEI at the end of the year. The December unemployment rate for Worcester was 3.3-percent which is still below both the state and national estimates,” said Professor Thomas White, who conducts the WEI. 

The Indicators

The report highlights two local leading indicators.

Fourth quarter new business incorporations in the greater Worcester area were up over 10.0-percent since 2016 which is a positive signal for potential future hiring.

Statewide initial unemployment claims fell 0.2-percent over the past year, which is not significant enough to be either a positive or a negative sign.

Looking Ahead

Each issue of Worcester Economic Indicators provides a six-month forecast for the WEI based on four national leading indicators, recent WEI estimates, as well as its long-run trend. 

According to the December forecast, the Worcester Economic Index is expected to grow at a 1.7-percent annualized rate during the first half of 2018.

“Most of the leading indicators used in the forecast are positive. Consumer expectations are strong, the stock market has been on the rise, and credit market conditions are favorable. Only the interest rate spread is having a negative impact, which is due to recent rate hikes by the Federal Reserve,” said White.

The next Worcester Economic Indicators report will be issued in May of 2018. 

 

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