February 5, 2017

Inbox [Feb. 5]: Worcester economy strongest in years, Anna Maria adds emergency response certificate, YWCA partners with health providers to help stricken couples, WPI men’s basketball shoots to beat cancer

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Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Worcester economy strongest since Great Recession

According to the Worcester Economic Index, a quarterly economic analysis compiled by Assumption College Professor of Economics Thomas White, Ph.D., the Worcester economy grew 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, which combined with solid growth turned in earlier in the year made 2016 the strongest year for the local economy since before the Great Recession.

The index is estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, all of which have improved over the past year. According to the bureau’s Current Population Survey of households, employment in the Worcester area has risen by about 2.3 percent since December 2015, while the payroll survey found an employment growth rate of 1.6 percent. Most dramatically, the Worcester area unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in December 2015 to 3 percent in December 2016.

“Over the course of 2016 all three of the variables used to compute the WEI moved in a positive direction,” White said. “And compared to December 2015, the WEI finished the year up 3.0 percent, which marks the highest annual growth since before the Great Recession.”

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