Mass. May Return To Pre-Recession Job Levels By 2013

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Thursday, November 18, 2010
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Nov. 18, 2010

BOSTON -- The economic outlook is precarious – but New England is weathering the tepid economy better than the rest of the country.

That’s the word from the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP), which released new forecasts for the nation and for the region on Wednesday at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank.
Overall, the report said the national economy is still recovering, but it’s losing steam.  Economic growth is slowing because the impact of the fiscal stimulus is fading, and because the European debt crisis has rattled the stock market. 
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s conference.  He said the road ahead will be bumpy.

“The next six, nine, perhaps twelve months will be uncomfortable,” Zandi said – but said he doesn’t think the economy is headed back into recessions.
“We’re not going to double dip.  But the odds of a double dip are high.  I subjectively put them at 1 in 3.  1 in 3.  That’s too high,” Zandi said,  “Uncomfortably high.”
Things aren’t quite as bad in New England according to Ross Gittell, an economist at the University of New Hampshire and vice president of NEEP.

“It’s going to be slightly less uncomfortable for the New England region.  But it will still be uncomfortable,” Gittell said.
Out of all the states in the region, Massachusetts is expected to have one of the strongest economies.  At the peak of the recession, the Bay State lost about 170,000 jobs.  NEEP says the state is on track to recover those jobs by the beginning of 2013. 
But NEEP acknowledges its projections are optimistic. The forecasts are based on the assumption that the national economy will pick up in about a year -- and that it will fully recover in five years.  But that’s not the consensus view.  Many economists believe that unemployment will remain quite high for another decade.  If that’s the case, Massachusetts would have to wait much longer to get back to pre-recession job levels.

Boston Factory Takes Training Into Its Own Hands

By Chris Arnold   |   Wednesday, November 17, 2010
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BPD: Homicide Increase Due To Drug Activity

By Jess Bidgood   |   Thursday, November 11, 2010
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Nov. 11, 2010

BOSTON — It seems every day recently there has been news of another slaying in Boston. The quadruple murder in Mattapan back in September brought the city to its knees – and since then, individual murders have continued, even if they don’t make front-page headlines.

This weekend, a man died of stab wounds sustained outside a Roxbury liquor store, and another murder happened Wednesday night.

A makeshift shrine is seen near 149 Blue Hill Avenue, where a man was shot and killed in late October. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

Boston’s murder rate is indeed up 46.5 percent since this time last year: 64 people have been killed in Boston in 2010, compared with 43 by this day in 2009. The city’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, told WGBH’s Emily Rooney on Thursday he attributes that spike to an up-tick in drug-related crime.

“The individuals involved (in the city’s homicides) are primarily gang members or people involved in the drug trade,” Davis said. “We’re seeing people with long records who have been recently released from jail either as the victims or the suspects.”

This source of violence has changed the demographic of most murder victims: Their average age has increased from the early 20’s to the early 30’s.

Davis said the problem is in the trade of drugs like cocaine, crack and heroine, and added that enduring unemployment and economic struggle may be fueling people’s turn to those substances for income.

“We’re dealing with long-term economic downturn, people who have clean records and and great backgrounds are having difficulty finding jobs, so I suspect that people with records who are getting out of state prison are also having difficulty,” Davis said.

But Davis struggles to explain why more drug activity necessarily means more murder. “(They are) random, vicious acts,” Davis said. “It’s hard to explain or put logic to something that is illogical.”

Davis said the police are trying to counteract the violence with a strategy that incorporates prevention of violence and community involvement.

“We’ve been concentrating on gang members and drug dealers who are clearly involved in violent activity and taking them out of the equation through drug investigations and long-term investigations,” Davis said.

Last week, Davis announced a staff shakeup at the BPD that may also be targeted at reducing the homicide rate. Gary French, previously the deputy superintendent charged with the city’s gang unit, has been demoted and replaced by Deputy Superintendent William G. Gross. Lt. Detective Robert Merner will replace Lt. Detective Steven M. Meade as head of the drug unit.

Suburban, Rural Foreclosures Increase In Mass.

By WGBH News   |   Thursday, November 11, 2010
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Nov. 11, 2010

BOSTON -- The number of foreclosures in suburbs and rural areas is now higher than that in urban communities.

A foreclosed property for sale in Lynn, Mass. (Mark Sadella/Flickr)

A new report from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) analyzed real estate data from the Warren Group, and found that in October 2010, urban foreclosures accounted for 49 percent of distressed housing unites in Massachusetts -- down from 59 percent in October 2008, and 54 percent in October 2009.

That's because number of distressed properties in urban and "gateway" municipalities has decreased since October 2009 -- while that number for the remainer of Massachusetts has risen.

"The gradual shift in distressed properties from urban to suburbs and rural communities is an indication of how unemployment and general economic distress has taken over from sub-prime as the key driver of distress," wrote Tim Davis in the MHP report.

Still, that's not to say trouble is over in cities: The state's most distressed zipcodes were found in Templeton, Brockton, Springfield and Wareham.


In 'Amityville,' A True Real Estate Horror Story

By Josh Kilmer-Purcell   |   Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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Nightly Business Report

Monday, August 30, 2010
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About the Authors
Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.
Jess Bidgood Jess Bidgood
Jess Bidgood is's news editor and producer.
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 


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