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Worcester’s Economy Improved in First Quarter

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


The greater Worcester economy rose during the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest estimates of the Worcester Economic Index, which is released each quarter by Assumption College Economics Professor Thomas White, Ph.D. Concerns however remained with regard to the low number of new home construction permits and new business incorporations.

During the first quarter, the Worcester Economic Index (WEI) increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent, which is substantially higher than the fourth quarter of 2013, when the WEI increased at a revised 2 percent.

See Report HERE

“Each of the components that make up the Worcester Economic Index moved in an encouraging direction over the past several months,” said Professor White. “On a seasonally adjusted basis, local employment is up, and the unemployment rate is coming down.”


The economy is expected to continue to grow at a relatively strong rate over the next three-to-six months. According to the report, the forecast growth of the WEI over the second and third quarters of 2014 is about 3.3 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 such as consumer expectations; changes in the S&P 500 Index; the interest rate spread; and the Leading Credit Index.

Other indicators

Other local indicators of future economic prospects are mixed. The number of online help-wanted advertisements has continued to rise in recent months, and state-wide initial unemployment claims have been falling, which are both encouraging signs. Not all indicators are positive, however, as the number of residential building permits and new business incorporations have each fallen since the start of 2014.

“Local economic data can be quite volatile, so it is best to look at several indicators and not put too much stock in month-to-month variations of any single variable,” White explained. “Currently, the local leading indicators are neutral with regard to future growth.”

The next Worcester Economic Indicators report will be released in August.


Related Slideshow: Bureau of Economic Analysis: Real Personal Income Data for New England Municipalities, 2008-2012

The U.S. Department of Commerce released "real personal income" data for both all the states, as well as metropolitan area,  from 2008 to 2012. 

Below are the New England metro areas ranked from least personal income growth from 2011 to 2012 -- to the most, as well as prior years.

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14. Lewiston-Auburn, ME

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: -0.62

2010-2011:  1.89

2009-2010: -1.73

2008-2009: -0.17

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13. Bangor, ME

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: -0.36

2010-2011:  0.82

2009-2010: -0.84

2008-2009:  1.99

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12. Norwich, CT

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 0.62

2010-2011: 0.88

2009-2010: 0.75

2008-2009: -1.25

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11. Pittsfield, MA

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 0.64

2010-2011: 3.82

2009-2010: 1.40

2008-2009: -3.56

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10. Worcester, MA

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 0.94

2010-2011: 2.80

2009-2010: 2.31

2008-2009: -0.30

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9. Manchester-Nashua, NH

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 0.96

2010-2011: 3.02

2009-2010: 1.63

2008-2009: -1.44

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8 . Portland, ME.

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 0.99

2010-2011: 2.74

2009-2010: 0.59

2008-2009: -1.21

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7. Hartford, CT

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 1.61

2010-2011: 0.86

2009-2010: 0.93

2008-2009: -1.87

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6. Barnstable, MA

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 1.70

2010-2011: 6.00

2009-2010: 2.34

2008-2009: -2.04

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5. Providence, RI

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 1.81

2010-2011: 1.56

2009-2010: 2.53

2008-2009: -1.15

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4. Burlington, VT

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 1.86

2010-2011: 5.54

2009-2010: 0.91

2008-2009: -1.39

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3. Bridgeport/Stamford CT

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 1.93

2010-2011: 5.00

2009-2010: 5.29

2008-2009: -8.47

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2. Springfield, MA

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 2.06

2010-2011: 2.38

2009-2010: 0.95

2008-2009: 0.34

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1. New Haven/Milford, CT

Real Personal Income - Percent Change

2011-2012: 3.06

2010-2011: 1.07

2009-2010: 1.13

2008-2009: -0.88


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