Worcester Economy Grows 2.3% in 1st Quarter of 2018

Thursday, May 03, 2018
GoLocalWorcester Business Team

The Worcester economy grew 2.3% during the first quarter of 2018, marking the strongest single quarter since 2016, according to the latest Worcester Economic Index (WEI) released by Assumption College professor Thomas White.

“Employment growth continued during the first three months of the year in the greater Worcester area. While there was an uptick in the unemployment rate during the first quarter, that was largely due to seasonal effects, once those are accounted for the unemployment rate was nearly unchanged. In addition, there was a sizable increase in the labor force which suggests that a relatively tight labor market is drawing workers back into the market,” said White.

Leading Indicators

The report highlights two local leading indicators.

The number of new businesses incorporated during the first quarter of 2018 increased 13% from 2017.

The number of initial unemployment claims filed during the first quarter in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts fell from the 2017 level. 

Looking Ahead

Each issue of Worcester Economic Indicators provides a six-month forecast for the WEI based on four national leading indicators, recent WEI estimates, as well as its long-run trend. 

According to the Quarter 1 forecast, the Worcester Economic Index is expected to grow at a 1.8 percent annualized rate over the next six months.

“The local economy seems to have some momentum and we should expect above-trend growth in the coming months. However, a couple leading indicators are currently negative and therefore dampen the forecast slightly. Recent declines in the stock market and the continued gradual tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve may constrain future economic performance,” said White.

The next Worcester Economic Indicators report will be issued in August of 2018. 

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