Everything You Need To Know About the National & Massachusetts Economy…At a Glance!
The national unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November, down from 9.0% in October. Employers around the country added 120,000 jobs last month and 100,000 jobs in each of the previous five months, which obviously has contributed to the decrease.
According to the Federal Reserve’s November publication of The Beige Book, the national economy continues to improve at a slow and moderate pace. Firms around the country are hiring but some have reported difficulty in identifying qualified candidates. Similar results hold true for the Massachusetts and Greater Boston economy.
Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remains steady at 7.3%. Confirmed by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), the Bay State has added over 50 thousand jobs in the past year (a growth rate of 1.6 percent) with Boston’s IT services and software industries “getting the gold coin” when it comes to business growth.
The National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation’s Optimism Index gained 1.8 points on its confidence scale in November.
For the third consecutive month, the National Federation of Independent Business' (NFIB) Optimism Index climbed and eight of the 10 index components either remained unchanged or improved.
According to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ (AIM) Business Confidence Index, confidence levels for the next six months are positive and “better than the assessment of current conditions which was up a point at 49.9,” says Fred Breimyer, Regional Economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
National consumer confidence was down earlier this year and continues to struggle. J.D. Power & Associates’ Executive Director Jeff Schuster is unafraid to give us the cold hard facts, “It really comes down to consumer confidence and consumers just do not have any right now. There just really is not a strong reason to go make that big-ticket purchase.” Consumer confidence has improved since the beginning of 2011 but as Staffing Consultant –Temporary Division Lindsay Peoples says, “overall consumer confidence this year certainly has been a major economic roller coaster ride!”
Massachusetts consumer confidence has dropped in the past few months; however, we refer to Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray for our optimism; “I see the glass half full, 50,000 plus new jobs in a year. That to me is the most important trend.”
According to a recent Wall Street journal article, CFOs in particular are less optimistic about 2012 national economic growth—however 38% of those polled, many of which were Bank Executives, say they expect the U.S. economy to grow next year. CFOs attribute government leaders’ lack of effectiveness as the number one challenge and concern for 2012.
In Q3, the Massachusetts annual growth rate surpassed the nation at 3.9% (U.S. at 2.5%). The local economy is expected to grow modestly at a rate of 2.9% in the beginning of 2012. Locally, we will look to a variety of measurements including, the unemployment rate and claims, productivity, construction employment, taxes, the Bloomberg stock index for Massachusetts, and consumer confidence as key indicators of economic health and growth for 2012.
Post below with where you go to find your latest news about national and local economic and job trends!