Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 165,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care.
This is the opening paragraph of the government’s April employment report – called the Employment Situation news release for April - issued this morning. Initial media reaction was tepid (“hardly impressive” – CNN) but the markets are up – and they’re right. This is an encouraging report.
A gain of 165,000 jobs in April is respectable, and beats expectations. Revisions to the February and March figures add 114,000 jobs to the year’s total. (March’s revised 138,000 looks a lot better than the 88,000 initially reported.) The headline unemployment rate is down a tenth, which if nothing else will help consumer confidence. We are chipping away at the numbers of long-term unemployed and discouraged workers.
Additionally, most of the sectors gaining jobs – professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade – are those that tend to do well in a growing economy. Expansion in these areas reflects, to a considerable extent, increases in discretionary spending by businesses and households.
The news could be better, of course. We would like to see more job creation; sustained gains of the order of February’s (revised) 332,000 would bring unemployment down rapidly. A large number of people who want full-time jobs are working part-time, pointing to severely restricted opportunities for the less skilled. But the good signs predominate.
We know that the economy has cooled somewhat after starting 2013 strong, and that employers facing business uncertainties, productivity concerns, and rising nonwage employment costs (notably those arising from the Affordable Care Act) have been careful about adding personnel. The April employment report suggests, however, that the slowdown is less serious than many had feared.
The year 2012 was one of questions, not answers.
An unspeakable tragedy that convulsed the nation ended a year that did little to resolve fundamental issues that keep both citizens and employers awake at night. Eleven months of political debate and a fourth year of halting economic recovery left the Americans at year-end still face-to-face with a fiscal cliff, a governmental impasse and, last week, a haunting societal abyss made manifest at a tiny elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The nation thus began and ended 2012 with questions. Will lawmakers resolve a $16 trillion debt problem without throwing the country back into recession? Will the newly re-elected president and Speaker of the House come to agreement? Will employers regain the level of confidence they need to resume investing in expansion and jobs? Will the economies of China and Europe recover?
The top 10 stories to affect Massachusetts employers in 2012:
- Fiscal cliff, European debt and slowing Chinese economy imperil Massachusetts.
The same Massachusetts innovation economy that helped the Bay State ride out the Great Recession found itself uniquely vulnerable to debt and deficit crises unfolding on both sides of the Atlantic. Failure by U.S. lawmakers to avoid automatic budget reductions and tax increases threatened to trigger deep cuts to bedrock Massachusetts industries such as defense and health care. An austerity-driven European recession continued to impede a key export market for Massachusetts companies, while growth in China declined 1.4 percentage points to its lowest rate since 1999. The result – Massachusetts unemployment rose from 6 percent in the spring to 6.6 percent in November.
- Massachusetts passes a first-in-the-nation law to limit increases in health-care costs.
Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill in August limiting the increase in medical spending in Massachusetts to a level equal to overall economic growth from 2013 until 2017. The spending growth target will drop to 0.5 percentage points below gross state product from 2018-2022 before returning to the economic growth benchmark in 2023 and beyond. Associated Industries of Massachusetts President Richard C. Lord was named in November to represent employers on the board of a new commission that will implement the cost-control law.
- United States Supreme Court rules federal health care reform constitutional.
The high court ruled in a 5-4 decision on June 28 that the portion of federal reform that requires everyone to purchase health insurance – the so-called individual mandate – is constitutional. The court ruled that the mandate violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, but is permissible under the taxing power of Congress. The landmark decision, coupled with the re-election of President Barack Obama in November, ensured that Massachusetts will be the only state in the nation to face the challenge of reconciling federal reform with an existing state health care reform.
- Manufacturing continues to make a comeback as companies create trend of re-shoring.
A funny thing happened to the conventional wisdom that manufacturing moves inexorably overseas – companies like General Electric, which resumed making appliances at its sprawling Appliance Park campus in Louisville, Kentucky, started bringing it back. Research by the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation found that manufacturers are reconsidering their supply chain strategies due to higher labor costs in developing countries, energy costs and political stability issues. It was good news for Massachusetts, where manufacturing employment stabilized after a sharp decline during the recession.
- President Barack Obama wins a second term, defeating former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, while Elizabeth Warren defeats Scott Brown on a platform of making business accountable.
An electorate made restive by four years of economic turmoil nevertheless turned away from a former financial executive promising economic change and returned to the status-quo of divided government. The re-election of President Obama affirmed the inevitability of federal health reform and set up a redux of the fiscal battle between the president and Congressional Republicans over whether to address the federal deficit through tax increase of spending cuts. Massachusetts voters elected Warren, a Harvard University professor and the creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to the Senate seat held by Republican Scott Brown.
- Courts postpone National Labor Relations Board rules on accelerated union elections and employee rights posters.
A United States District Court issued a judgment in May invalidating a far-reaching National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulation promoting accelerated union representation elections. Ruling in favor of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (of which AIM is a member), the court found that the NLRB did not have the required quorum to pass the rule. Separately, a federal appeals court blocked another NLRB rule requiring more than 6 million U.S. employers to post a workplace notice informing employees of their right to join a union.
- Massachusetts lawmakers pass a balanced budget with no tax increases, but hint as the year comes to a close that they are likely to seek additional revenue in 2013.
Governor Patrick signed a $32.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2013 that included no new broad-based taxes and the final installment of a three-year drop in corporate income taxes from 9.5 to 8 percent. The budget represented a 3.2 percent increase in spending over Fiscal Year 2012. Lagging tax revenues during the fall created a $540 million budget shortfall that prompted the governor to announce cuts in local aid and state government. Beacon Hill lawmakers have sent strong signals that they may seek to raise taxes for transportation, higher education and other purposes next year.
- Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Legislature freeze unemployment insurance rates for a third consecutive year.
Lawmakers froze unemployment insurance rates at Schedule E, averting an automatic 31 percent increase from $715 per employee to $935 per employee. AIM argued that the fund used to pay jobless benefits in Massachusetts would grow to between $300 million and $400 million, even if rates were frozen. Beacon Hill did not move forward with changes to the unemployment benefits structure that would assure the solvency of the jobless fund for the long term.
- Massachusetts employers benefit as Congress grants Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and re-authorizes the Export-Import Bank.
Congress and President Obama followed up the signing of three free-trade agreements in late 2011 with the granting in 2012 of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia, a move experts believe will create new market opportunities for companies in Massachusetts that have already boosted exports to Russia by 30 percent this year. Re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank was also important to the export-driven Bay State economy – the bank has provided loans to 74 exporting Bay State companies in the past two years in amounts from $5,500 to $27 million.
- Nomination of Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a political donnybrook one month after the election.
President Obama on Friday nominated Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. The news set off speculation that everyone from Scott Brown to Edward Kennedy Jr. to Congressman Edward Markey to the actor Ben Affleck would compete for Kerry’s senate seat during a special election next year. Affleck’s name prompted wags to suggest campaign slogans for the actor, including The People magazine’s seat; Vote baby vote; and Armagettinoutthevote.
“For decades we have known that the retirement of the baby boomers would be a monumental event for the economy,” wrote two former staffers at the federal Office of Management and Budget in last Friday’s New York Times, “but now that it’s happening, many fiscal policy makers are … turning a blind eye to how the boomers’ aging changes how we should approach economic policy.”
In particular, argue Kenneth S. Baer, now of the Harbour Group, and Jeffrey B. Liebman, now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the demographic shift must inform our understanding of our two most pressing policy issues: the federal deficit and unemployment.
Government spending, which has averaged 21 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the past four decades, is rising and will reach 24 percent of GDP by 2022 if current policies continue. While voices from both parties have called for capping or rolling back the increase, these proposals, the authors say, “ignore the simple fact that you cannot repeal the aging of the boomers.” The rising expenditures are driven mainly by spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as the baby boomers age and retire.
The same demographic blind spot, according to Baer and Liebman, affects perceptions of employment trends. Because of boomer retirements, running 200,000 a month, “the rule of thumb that the economy needs to add 140,000 jobs per month to keep up with population growth no longer holds,” they say.
Today, a more realistic number is 100,000 net jobs – which is why job creation at the 150,000-a-month level has brought the unemployment rate down, if slowly. Similarly, the employment-to-population ratio will trend downward regardless of the economy; the fact that it has flattened out should be taken as a positive sign.
These points, beyond the bumper-sticker slogans of opposing political blocs, are worth considering. There is little doubt that economists and policymakers, though nominally aware of the impact of the baby-boom demographic bulge, have repeatedly underestimated its real impact – for example, on labor markets and productivity as boomers entered the primary workforce, and on housing as they passed through their life cycles. One of the article’s claims is perhaps discouraging, the other hopeful: the deficit is even more intractable than it may seem, but we are doing better than we may think on employment.
And both points support arguments that AIM has been making for some time. We have long regarded control of health care costs, at the state level and nationally, as our most important economic policy priority, because it is ultimately the only way to control the spending that busts budgets in the public and private sectors. We have also stressed the challenge of replacing the highly-skilled but aging workforce, particularly in our manufacturing sector, that has been a foundation of our competitiveness – the focus of the Staying Power II report by Prof. Barry Bluestone and his team at Northeastern University.
The U.S. economy should enjoy favorable winds once it navigates the impending fiscal negotiations in Washington, forecasters predicted at the New England Economic Partnership’s semi-annual Outlook Conference held yesterday at Bryant University in Smithfield RI.
The national forecast presented by Edward Friedman, Director, Moody’s Analytics, emphasized that the recovery, though ongoing, lags because of weak hiring. Job creation is slow despite strong corporate profits and balance sheets, holding back consumer spending even as household balance sheets and house values improve. The Federal Reserve is playing a weak hand well, but fiscal policy is the key to short- and long-term growth.
With regard to the “fiscal cliff” scenario, Friedman noted that the impact of tax increases on the economy would far outweigh that of the spending cuts, especially in high-income states such as Massachusetts. Failure to achieve some kind of resolution in Washington would quickly lead to a recession roughly comparable to that of 2001 – but Friedman put the chances of deadlock at no more than 15 percent.
The Moody’s baseline forecast assumes a “middle-ground” outcome that avoids most short-term impacts: payroll taxes will return to higher levels but most of the Bush tax reductions will stand, and defense spending will fall significantly less than under sequestration.
On these assumptions, the Moody’s forecast shows national economic growth (GDP) rising in the course of 2013 from the current 2 percent annual range to above 4 percent, easing off to the high threes by 2015. This growth should work off pent-up demand for automobiles and houses, and return employment to, or above, pre-recession levels.
The Massachusetts forecast developed by Alan Clayton-Matthews of Northeastern University, a member of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors, was built off of the Moody’s baseline. Our state, Clayton-Matthews noted, is experiencing a deceleration for reasons that include a global slowdown affecting key markets, but is in the fourth year of an expansion that has raised Gross State Product (GSP) 4.5 percent above its pre-recession peak, and brought back 87 percent of the jobs lost.
Looking ahead, he forecast moderate GSP growth (2.3 percent) in 2013, accelerating in 2014 (3.8 percent) and 2015 (4 percent) before tailing off to 3.4 percent in 2016 due to workforce constraints. Employment, after edging up in 2013 (0.7 percent), would rise more strongly in the out-years, finally surpassing its peak of 2001, although the unemployment rate would remain above 6 percent into 2015. Because housing has become more affordable, Clayton-Matthews added, Massachusetts employers should find it easier to attract and retain younger workers.
The forecast shows construction, professional and business services, information, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services leading the state’s employment growth through 2016. The manufacturing sector will add jobs, though more slowly, throughout the forecast period.
AIM will offer an in-depth look at what's ahead for the economy in 2013 at the AIM Executive Forum on January 18. Panelists Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank & RBS Citizens, Massachusetts; Katherine Kiel, Professor of Economics, College of the Holy Cross; and Barry Bluestone, Dean, School, of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University will conduct a no-holds-barred discussion about the future for the world economy and what it will mean to employers.
The Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities are “a neglected resource” with an economic role that is “far greater and far more important than has been true historically,” Richard Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education, told the AIM Public Affairs Council last week.
Freeland pointed out that most Massachusetts high school graduates who go on to college enter the public system, as do large majorities of older students, minority students and veterans.
Without discounting independent institutions (he is a graduate of Amherst and former president of Northeastern) Freeland noted that the students at private schools are increasingly recruited nationally and internationally, and are less likely to pursue careers here after graduation. In a state where 70 percent of jobs will soon require some college education, the primary responsibility for maintaining the quality of the workforce falls to the public campuses.
This realization, he said, is the basis of the Board of Higher Education’s ongoing Vision Project:
“The ‘vision’ in the Vision Project is that Massachusetts needs, and should aspire to have, the best-educated workforce in the nation.” But while the project’s newly-released initial report, “Time to Lead: The Need for Excellence in Public Higher Education,” identified various ways in which the system is providing excellent service to the Commonwealth – for example, the rise in research activity at the University of Massachusetts – the bottom line is that “we’re nowhere near leadership”; there are “too many areas where Massachusetts is just pretty average.”
Further improvement is not all about money, he argued, but money is important. The Massachusetts public system ranks about 30th nationally in per-student funding, and state support has been eroding.
“Is excellence in public higher education important? Is this an area in which we should be national leaders – as in k-12 education?” he asked.
“This issue needs to be higher on the state’s radar screen.” It should be an issue, particularly, for employers, he said, because they understand the stakes, and can influence the Legislature.
Asked if public higher education could be more efficient, Freeland replied that while individual campuses are generally lean, the system consists of “a relatively large number of relatively small institutions,” with “a culture built around autonomy and decentralization.” The greatest opportunity for savings, he said, is on the administrative side, although some programmatic sharing has been undertaken on the instructional side.
An election that did little to break the nation’s fiscal deadlock eroded the confidence of Massachusetts employers during November as the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index fell into negative territory for the first time since June.
The Index dropped 4.3 points to 46.8 as employers found themselves swept toward the fiscal cliff of drastic federal budget reductions and tax increases. Manufacturing led the decline, which left employer confidence three points lower than it was a year ago and 5.3 points lower than in November 2010.
“The tax increases set to take effect unless Congress acts will affect virtually every business, and the automatic spending cuts will hit hard at both defense and non-defense sectors in Massachusetts – and serious macroeconomic effects are also projected,” said Raymond G. Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc., and chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA).
“After an election that did little to break the deadlock in Washington, we are very close to the edge. Whereas October’s results merely pointed to this concern, November’s treat an adverse outcome as a probability.”
State officials predict that federal budget reductions caused by sequestration would cause Massachusetts to lose $300 million in tax revenue this year and $1 billion next year. Federal spending cuts would also affect Massachusetts industries that rely heavily on federal government spending - Defense funding for Massachusetts, for example, would drop by $1.2 billion and National Institutes of Health spending would drop nearly $200 million.
The pall cast by the deadlocked fiscal negotiations appears to be seeping into employer outlooks for their own companies. Three company-related elements of the overall Business Confidence Index fell during November - the broad Company Index was off 4.9 points to 51.0, the Sales Index dropped 3.5 to 50.9, and the Employment Index lost 4.6 to 49.1.
“Most businesses are subject to the personal rather than the corporate tax regime, and they don’t know what their tax rates will be two months from now,” said BEA member Elliot Winer, Chief Economist, Northeast Economic Analysis Group LLC. “This kind of uncertainty makes it difficult to think about hiring and investment.”
It is an uncertainty that appears to dominate the thoughts of employers as the year comes to an end. The BCI Current Index, tracking employers’ assessment of existing business conditions, was off 3.2 points to 47.6, while the Future Index, measuring expectations for the next six months, lost 5.4 to 46.1. And while survey respondents tilted slightly positive about staffing changes in the past six months (27 percent up, 20 percent down), the balance went negative for the six months ahead (16 percent up, 24 percent down).
“The large drop in the Future Index suggests that many employers now expect some combination of spending cuts and tax increases to affect their businesses and the economy in the near future,” commented Michael Goodman, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, a BEA member.
AIM’s Business Confidence Index has been issued monthly since July 1991 under the oversight of the Board of Economic Advisors. Its historical high was 68.5, attained in 1997 and 1998; its all-time low was 33.3 in February 2009. November’s reading is down 3.3 points from a year before and 5.3 over two years, and up only 1.9 from November 2009.
The November report was based upon responses from 147 Massachusetts employers.
The mood of Massachusetts employers continues to shift with the swirling global economic winds.
The Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index surged into positive territory during July after suffering its second largest monthly decline ever the previous month. The July confidence reading of 52.2 was higher than it was in July 2011 as employers grew more bullish about the prospects for their own companies during the second half of the year.
But lingering doubts about economic growth, the Eurozone crisis and an impending “fiscal cliff” in the United States continued to leave most employers reluctant to expand and hire. Employer views of the U.S. economy remain almost 10 points lower on the AIM Index than their overall confidence level. The U.S. Index of business conditions prevailing nationally gained 1.4 points in July to 41.9, and the Massachusetts Index of conditions within the Commonwealth rose 1.6 to 49.2.
“Here we see the impact of economic uncertainty,” said Fred Breimyer, Regional Economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a member of the AIM Board of Economic Advisors.
“Each of these indices was off 7.9 in June, and each has regained only a fraction of that loss. Both are weaker than objective current conditions justify, with the national indicator especially low – only 6 percent of survey respondents rated national business conditions good, while 38 percent called them bad.”
Release of the AIM report came a day after The New York Times reported that a growing number of manufacturing companies are canceling new investments and postponing new hires because they fear that paralysis in Washington will force billions of dollars in tax increases and budget reductions in January.
The 3.9-point jump in employer confidence during July left the AIM Index almost two points higher than it was in July of last year.
“The fluctuations in business confidence reflect a continuing high level of uncertainty in the economic outlook, which makes Massachusetts employers cautious about expectations, and reluctant to add to the workforces even when they are doing relatively well,” said Raymond G. Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc.
The specter of sequestration – federal budget cuts that will take effect automatically in 2013 unless Congress acts – looms over key Bay State economic sectors, said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
“We are not projected to feel the same impact as states with disproportionate numbers of federal employees, but we would face extreme disruption to key industries, on both the defense and the non-defense sides. Our state ranks fifth in Defense/Homeland Security contracts, with almost $14 billion in contracts, 2,500 contractors, and 130,000 jobs,” Lord said.
AIM’s Business Confidence Index has been issued monthly since July 1991 under the oversight of the Board of Economic Advisors. Presented on a scale on which 50 is neutral, its historical high was 68.5, attained in 1997 and 1998; its all-time low was 33.3 in February 2009.
Massachusetts employers began 2012 with increased confidence, but that confidence remains more muted than it was a year ago when the economy last appeared to be moving toward recovery.
The AIM Business Confidence Index released this morning shows that employer confidence rose for a third consecutive month during January to 52.8, slightly above the 50-point level that denotes a positive outlook. Confidence has risen 6.4 points in the past three months as employment and other leading economic indicators have begun to move higher.
But confidence remains weaker than it was a year ago before the U.S. deficit deadlock and the European debt crisis sent the economy reeling. The AIM index posted a reading of 55.2 in January 2011 as employers looked optimistically to a recovery they believed would gain momentum as the year went on.
Raymond G. Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group and the chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) said that Massachusetts is “right back in the range of late 2010 and early 2011.”
“Massachusetts employers are telling us that this continues to be a slow and halting recovery,” Torto said. “Comparing the new results with those of January 2011, we find the indicators for current conditions, Massachusetts conditions, and employment within a point, but the Future Index of six-month expectations off 4.4.
The Business Confidence Index survey found that 42 percent of Massachusetts employers expect the economy to improve in 2012, though only five percent anticipate that conditions will be “much better.” Twelve percent of employers fear that the economy will deteriorate.
Almost all the component readings of the overall Business Confidence Index reflected the same pattern of monthly increase and year-over-year decrease. Confidence in the national economy rose to 44.1 in January and confidence in the Massachusetts economy increased to 51.3. Both readings were below those from January 2011.
“Employers’ confidence in the national economy took a big hit in the June-October period, with fiscal squabbles in Washington a major negative factor, and is now rebuilding, though it is still off three points from last January,” said BEA member Michael Goodman, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The Current Index, tracking employers’ assessment of existing business conditions, gained 2.8 points in January, its best level since April though off seven-tenths from last January. The Future Index, measuring expectations for the next six months, added nine-tenths to 53.9 – also the highest reading since April, but well down from the 58.3 of last January.
The January Business Confidence Index was compiled before last week’s announcement by the government that a better-than-expected increase of 243,000 jobs during January reduced the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.3 percent. Unemployment in Massachusetts has remained lower than the rest of the nation throughout the recession and currently stands at 6.8 percent.
The Great Recession and subsequent sluggish recovery have widened the gap between economic “haves” and “have-nots” from the local to the global level, a panel of economists said this morning.
Raymond Torto, Carol McMullen and Alan Clayton-Matthews told more than 200 business leaders at the AIM Executive Forum in Waltham that overall economic stability in the U.S. and abroad masks wide variations in the outlook of cities, states, towns, nations and individuals.
“If the head is in the oven and the feet are in the refrigerator, then on average, you are warm,” said McMullen, a veteran private investor and corporate board member.
She said that while the national economy has been growing at a steady two-and-a-half percent annually, some absolute levels of economic activity remain near recessionary levels. And the economic bifurcation is global, she said, warning that Europe stands at the verge of another recession as leaders on the continent dither over its debt problems.
“It could get really ugly,” she said.
Clayton-Matthews, a professor of economics at Northeastern University, continued the feast-or-famine theme by saying that Massachusetts is performing better economically than the nation as a whole, but still finds pockets of strength and weakness within its own borders. He noted that while metropolitan Boston lost 4.3 percent of its job base during the recession, the decline in Springfield reached 5.4 percent. The jobless rate in cities such as Springfield, Fall River and Lawrence remains almost twice the statewide average.
“It has been an extremely unequal recession,” he said.
“For communities that have been tied in with the technology sector and that have an educated work force, they have not had a recession at all. They are doing fine.”
Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis Group, said that commercial real estate is likewise winnowing strong markets from weak ones and well-capitalized developers from smaller ones. He said the growth of biosciences and technology companies has remained concentrated in the traditional strongholds of Cambridge and Boston instead of spreading throughout the state.
“It’s where they want to be,” Torto said.
He maintained that the private sector nationally remains reluctant to invest its cash reserves to create jobs because business executives lack confidence in the ability of governments in Europe in the United States to resolve their debt and deficit issues.
All three members of the panel, moderated by WBZ radio business anchor Anthony Silva, agreed that Massachusetts faces a significant risk in Europe because 25 percent of Bay State exports go to the continent.
What would you ask three world-class economists if you had the chance? Would you ask about prospects for the Massachusetts economy and your business in 2012? Will the European debt crisis push the US back into recession? Will housing finally bottom out?
Well, your chance is here.
The AIM Executive Forum on Friday, January 13 in Waltham will feature three prominent economists who will dust off their crystal balls and look at where the economy will go during 2012. Speakers include Raymond Torto, right, Global Chief Economist for CB Richard Ellis Group; Carol McMullen, Corporate Director and Private Investor; and Alan Clayton-Matthews, Professor at Northeastern University.
We’re giving employers throughout Massachusetts an opportunity to submit questions for our three experts. All you need to do is to post your question in the comments section below. We’ll select the best questions and let our economists have at it.
If we use your question, we’ll thank you with complimentary admission to a future Executive Forum. If more than one person submits the same question, the first person to post it receives the free ticket.
We will also take questions during the event on Twitter, @aimbusinessnews, #aimeconomicoutlook.
Meanwhile, we invite you to register to attend the Executive Forum for a morning of networking, good food and interesting conversation. The Forum, sponsored by NSTAR, runs from 7:45-9:30 a.m. at the Waltham Westin Hotel.