MassBenchmarks: Mass. economy solid but shows signs of slowing

THE MASSBENCHMARKS editorial board said that while the Massachusetts economy remained solid, growth has shown signs of slowing.
THE MASSBENCHMARKS editorial board said that while the Massachusetts economy remained solid, growth has shown signs of slowing.

PROVIDENCE – The Massachusetts economy continued to show solid performance, but signs of a slowdown were present in the recent months, according to commentary from the MassBenchmarks editorial board released Wednesday.

The economy evaluation is a compilation of discussion points of the editorial board’s meeting on Sept. 20.

The board said the Bay State economy continued a trend of following the national economy. Local economic growth was said to be slowing due to labor supply constraints, as well as the reserve of unemployed and underemployed workers falling. The board noted that employment and output growth in the state are slowing. The board also noted it was possible the economic slowdown may also be attributable to decreased demand.

The local Massachusetts economy was also said to be hindered by uncertainties such as global trade agreements, Brexit, effects of climate change and global market instability.

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The state was said to have a $1.1 billion surplus and a record amount in its rainy day fund, about $2.8 billion. However, tax revenue growth may have been attributable to the 2017 tax changes passed by the U.S. Congress and may not continue, the board said.

The general strong nature of the economy was said to have extended its benefits more widely than before, lowering the unemployment rate for “young adults, people of color, and individuals with limited educational attainment and marketable skills.”

The board also addressed the infrastructure of Massachusetts, which it determined was in crisis. The board said infrastructure in the state was constraining growth and hurting workers and businesses alike, and recommended investments in roads and bridges. The board also advocated for investments in education.

MassBenchmarks is the journal published by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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