Updated March 24 at 12:39pm

Beige Book: New England growth ‘continues to disappoint’


BOSTON – During June and July, economic growth in the New England region “continued to disappoint” as employment growth faltered and the region lost 2,500 jobs in June alone, according to the Beige Book report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

None of the states in the New England region experienced statistically significant changes in employment in June, but Rhode Island saw the largest percentage decline in payrolls in the nation at 0.8 percent during the month.

Construction employment deteriorated sharply for the second consecutive month in June, falling to a rate of -3.8 in June, down from -2.5 in May and -1.7 in April.

Government employment throughout the New England area also decreased, dropping 1.2 percent in the region in June. State governments in the area experienced a small 0.2 percent increase in unemployment as federal and local government payrolls dropped 1.8 and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Professional and business services led both the New England region and the U.S. with a 3.4 percent employment growth from June 2011 to June 2012. The administrative and waste management industry led the sector with a 4.2 percent growth in June, the professional, scientific and technical business service industry followed with a 3.5 percent growth.

The number of average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance grew 1.1 percent from May to June across New England. The regional data have shown an upward drift in jobless claims since February.

National and regional personal income growth weakened in the first quarter of 2012. In New England, personal income increased by 2.6 percent year-over-year while U.S. income rose by 2.9 percent. This marked the third consecutive quarter where the U.S. outpaced New England in personal income growth.

The report called residential real estate “something of a silver lining for the region” as housing permit growth improved by 34.5 percent across New England in June 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Massachusetts led the way in New England as three-month average permits increased 56.5 percent from 2011, while Rhode Island saw the area’s only decline with permits sliding 13.2 percent during the same period.

To view the full report, visit www.bos.frb.org.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s next Beige Book update will be released in late September.


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