MassBenchmarks: Mass. economy continuing ‘robust expansion’

BOSTON – The Massachusetts economy is continuing its “robust expansion” as employment is growing at rates not seen since the late 1990s, according to the MassBenchmarks editorial board.
The board, comprised of economic analysts from across Massachusetts, released its comments Tuesday about its discussion on the economy, saying it expects the growth to continue at least into next year.
The board called recent job growth “impressive,” with year-over-year payroll employment increasing by more than 90,000 through August, with technology and knowledge-intensive sectors of the economy leading the way. The board said growth and prosperity associated with the technology and innovation sectors has been concentrated in the Greater Boston area, but there seems to be some positive spillover in other parts of the state.
The health services and products sector has been another employment growth driver, it said.
But the board said housing prices and residential rents are rising fast, putting pressure on working families, many of whom have had to cope with both “stagnant incomes and increasingly unaffordable housing options.”
And, while the gross state product growth “consistently exceeded” national growth this year and building activity increased, the slowing global economy remains a concern, the board said.
“Several dark clouds have been forming globally,” the report states.
It specifically mentions the “apparent decline” in the growth rate of the Chinese economy, saying that slowing Chinese growth is affecting nations such as Canada, Australia and Brazil that rely on China as a destination for their commodity exports. Oil exporters also are affected by the Chinese slowdown, it said.
“While the Massachusetts economy is somewhat buffered from these developments, thanks to its relatively smaller reliance on manufacturing exports, they can be expected to exert downward pressure on state export activity. … While the state is relatively well-positioned to manage these risks, it is by no means immune from the effects of continued global economic weakness,” the report stated.
MassBenchmarks is published by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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