Globe’s Gavin Reports Regional Economy Growing Slowly

Rob Gavin from the Globe’s business pages writes today that the Federal Reserve’s recent regional economy report states that the New England economy is growing, but the pace is slow. Read his article here, and consider subscribing to the Globe if you appreciate the writing.

The Sun recently reported that Lowell’s unemployment rate in June was about 11 percent, slightly better than the Great Recession’s high point of 13 percent in the city last January. As an historical note, people talking or writing about Lowell’s modern renaissance typically cite the 12 percent unemployment rate in the mid-1970s as the horrific trough of the city’s post-WWII downturn. In those days, Lowell’s jobless rate was among the worst in the nation. That the official figure in January 2010 exceeded the historic high point is worth noting for perspective. And that says nothing about the unofficial figure or a higher figure that would include so-called discouraged workers who aren’t looking, the people working “under the table,” and the underemployed.

2 Responses to Globe’s Gavin Reports Regional Economy Growing Slowly

  1. Bob Forrant says:

    Another huge concern for the recovery around greater-Lowell is that most of the biggest employers function to help people get smart or get better – schools and hospitals. This is a mixed blessing. Why?

    Well, while seemingly recession proof, all those education jobs require the generation of revenue to fund public schools, colleges and universities. Historically that revenue came from the manufacturing engine for exports and things like growth in people’s investment income, which was taxed. As revenue collections tank so too does spending on higher ed.

    At the other end, the health care sector is caught up in the tragedy of our miserably failing health insurance system. So, as the population ages and more and more folks need more and more care, we will bust the delivery system into a million pieces. And, again, the hospitals pay their workers sure, but they do not grow the larger economic pie we need to expand right away.

    SO, what to do? Harness the intersection of education and public health and try to build some sort of education/health complex in our region to rival the Raytheon/ military industrial complex and generate more research dollars to cure diseases, medical devices, technologies to ease the living arrangements for people with chronic, movement limiting injuries and illnesses, etc. These then become new, exportable commodities that can stimulate and grow the economic pie.

    Absent a well thought out set of collaborations across the private and public sectors we have as much chance of recovering economically as Jack had with his magic beans. I keep saying it – no one in serious, responsible positions responds to do something – and we drift along rather aimlessly retraining people – but for what???? – and arguing about slot machines or no slot machines. What a joke – and a cruel one at that.

    I’ve got an idea – lets give the Big Blowhard Curt Schilling, he who hates all government, a $70 million state-backed loan to move his gaming business, the one it appears no private venture capitalist was willing to back, to the Wannalancit Mill Building. We can require that he bring his ‘bloody sock’ to Lowell and wave it over our very own Acropolis where the Spinners play to reverse Angry Bud’s curse on the Spinners and their home. I kid, I kid! Or, do I?

  2. George DeLuca says:

    It’s good to see you still have your fast ball Bob …
    It would be great to see UML and LGH connect. There are seeds to sow and mutual objectives to be cultivated. The timing couldn’t be better.