I recently had the opportunity to attend the New England Economic Partnership’s Fall Conference. This group is charged with forecasting economic indicators such as employment growth, income growth and economic output over the next five years.
As one might expect from a panel of “dismal scientists,” this group tends to be conservative in their forecasts. However, I was pleased by the positive report given by Professor Alan Clayton-Matthews of Northeastern University on the Massachusetts economy.
Here are some of my observations from the conference:
- Massachusetts economic output has grown robustly in 2010, well ahead of the U.S. economy. Growth has slowed during the second half of the year, but is forecast to continue growing faster than the U.S. until 2012.
- Locally, job growth during this recovery is expected to be much stronger than during the expansion in the late 2000s. After losing 5.1% of our office-using jobs during the recession, Massachusetts is expected to add 81,600 office jobs, a 10.8% increase over the next five years. By the end of 2012, we will surpass the level of office jobs we had before the start of the great recession. In 2014, we’ll surpass the all-time high level of office-using jobs set in 2000 at the height of the dotcom era.
Professional and business services, the largest office user sector, is expected to grow the fastest in the Commonwealth. Over the next five years it is predicted they will show an average annual job growth rate of 3.1%. This is well ahead of the 1.6% average for all sectors.