We're not ready to weigh in the great RMG debate over Bay state job creation numbers in 2011 but in BHI's latest Economic Indicators briefing we do take a look at where job trends were going in late 2011. Using metropolitan numbers collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found that local unemployment trended downward in January. But the size of the labor workforce in metro areas also declined.
However, job growth in Massachusetts slowed down across all sectors. The professional fields turned down 0.4% fourth quarter 2011 over third quarter 2011. Financial services continue to struggle in Massachusetts.
Here are some other highlights:
Following the money: health care in now king. Since the end of the recession, professional sector employers in Massachusetts have paid out an average of $25.4 billion a year; in health care the number is slightly higher $26.04 billion. Since the recovery, the health care sector has taken over the top spot in wages and salaries. Financial services continue to struggle in Massachusetts.
Natural gas production appears to be lowering energy prices. The price of a gallon of heating oil was $4.108 on February 27, 2012; one year earlier it was $3.755 per gallon according to the Energy Information Administration. But overall, on the home energy front, there is good news. Household energy — both in the U.S. and locally —dropped 0.3% and utility piped gas service dropped 13.4% more than 3.5% than it dropped across the nation.
It might be time to tell the Fed to worry about inflation and how it's hurting the little guy. The cost of food and beverages rose 4.1% in Massachusetts; 4.2% nationwide.
Income is failing to keep up with inflation. On a quarterly basis, Real Personal Income for Massachusetts fell 1.68% in the second quarter (a period with 1.21% inflation) but rebounded in the third quarter to 0.66% (where prices rose only 0.22%). The decline in RPI is particularly hard on the elderly and others who live on fixed incomes.
BHI in the Media:
The Providence Journal will feature remarks by BHI's Senior Economist Jonathan Haughton on how Rhode Island can improve its economic competitiveness.
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