May 10, 2017

Inbox [May 10]: News and notes from Assumption, Clark, WalletHub, Community Harvest Project and BJ’s

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Worcester’s economy sees slow start to ’17

According to the Worcester Economic Index (WEI), a quarterly analysis compiled by Assumption College Professor of Economics Thomas White, Ph.D., economic activity in the greater Worcester area slowed during the first quarter of 2017.

Since December, the WEI declined 0.4 percent on an annualized basis.

Though the WEI shows the unemployment rate fell from 5 percent in March 2016 to 4.2 percent in March 2017 — which White considers a positive signal — the recent data on Worcester-area unemployment has been less encouraging because of seasonally adjusted employment estimates.

“During the first quarter of the year, there is usually an increase in the unemployment rate, as seasonal hiring for the holiday season unwinds,” White said. “This year, however, the increase was greater than normal due to an increase in the size of the labor force. Therefore, the rise in the local unemployment rate over the last few months is the reason the WEI fell to start the year.”

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