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[January 26, 2013]
Boston's mission accomplished? [Boston Herald]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 26--An expert warned yesterday that Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who announced that Boston had made a full recovery from the "Great Recession," may have spoken too soon.
Proposed federal budget cuts could reduce health-care reimbursements, defense contracts and scientific research funding, which has fueled the state's innovation economy -- and helped Boston -- said Michael Goodman, associate professor and chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
"The stakes for the future are high," Goodman told the Herald. "If these budget cuts are passed, our institutions will suffer and, in turn, so will the local economy." Data released yesterday by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in its 2013 Economy Report shows the local unemployment rate has fallen steadily over the past 2.5 years, and the city has regained nearly all of the jobs lost between 2008 and 2010.
City officials are projecting an all-time record for employment in 2012, with 682,000 jobs. And in fiscal 2012, new investment from construction topped $3.8 billion, a 10-year high and more than double the $1.7 billion in fiscal 2010.
"Boston has successfully recovered from the recession, and we're projecting strong economic growth over the next five to 10 years," said Mark Melnik, the BRA's deputy director for research.
Between 2007 and 2011, Boston's average annual unemployment rate was lower than both the national and Massachusetts averages, according to the report.
Last November, the city's unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, while the state's was 6.1 percent and the nation's was 7.4 percent.
By 2016, Boston is expected to have 728,500 jobs, a 7.9 percent increase over 2011.
The state's economy, and Boston's in particular, came out of the recession earlier and more strongly than the national economy due in large part to businesses buying equipment and expertise here that helped them become more efficient, said Robert A. Nakosteen, a professor of economics and statistics at UMass Amherst's Isenberg School of Management.
Those purchases were largely in information technology and consulting, a sector that is concentrated in Greater Boston, Nakosteen said.
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