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MassBenchmarks: Mixed signals call for cautious optimism declares the editorial board

Despite looming threats to the Commonwealth's economy, including the federal budget sequester, tax increases, and an ongoing recession in the European Union, Massachusetts created over 50,000 jobs last year. That pace of growth is greater than the national rate and surpasses the recovery from the dot.com recession of 2001.

Retail spending, tax revenue and exports all increased, generating an optimistic near-term economic outlook, but conflicting employment data, the state's high unemployment rate, and lack of quality job opportunities for the young, poorly educated, and long-term unemployed temper this optimism.

Income gains in the sectors that are growing seem to be concentrated in the highest income groups, who have seen a disproportionate benefit from the continued growth of the state's vaunted innovation economy, specifically in the Greater Boston region. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Commonwealth continues to lag behind. These disparities are most starkly reflected in regional unemployment rates, which remain uniformly higher in areas outside of the greater Boston area.

MassBenchmarks is the journal of the Massachusetts economy and is published by the UMass Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Read the full bulletin, "Mixed signals call for cautious optimism declares the MassBenchmarks Editorial Board," (2/19/14)

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