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Massachusetts above national average economic growth

As a pending national recession looms, Massachusetts has stayed above the average national economic growth. This is a different trend of years past in which the state has been far below average economic growth rates.

While the nation has cut over 200,000 jobs, Massachusetts in contrast, has added 4,600 jobs. According to the University of Massachusetts, the state’s economy through March has grown by a 3.2% annual rate, whereas the nation has only grown at a .6% rate.

Technology, biotechnology, and health science industries are in such high demand that they compensate for the national housing and mortgage crisis.  "This reinforces how important innovation is to our economy," said Michael Goodman, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute. "The technology part of our economy is offsetting the housing market."

Massachusetts has suffered deeper and longer recessions in the past because the state has businesses that sell a good or service to other businesses, making Massachusetts more dependent on business spending. The housing and mortgage crisis hasn’t affected Massachusetts as much as the rest of the nation because construction jobs, which are tied to homebuilding activity, make up only about 4 percent of payroll employment in Massachusetts, compared with 5.3 percent nationally, according to the Labor Department.

Exports of technology have also contributed to Massachusetts staying above the national economic average. According to World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, a nonprofit research group at Holyoke Community College, technological exports have increased by 21% in the first two months of 2008 compared to 2007.

Alan Clayton-Matthews, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston warns however, that Massachusetts will not be able to escape the national recession all together. "It's not like we have a robust economy," he said, "but we're doing better than the nation."

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