Worker shortages, moderate growth expected for 2017

bglobelogoBy Deirdre Fernandes | The Boston Globe

The state’s leading economists expect the Massachusetts economy to grow at a moderate pace this year, but warn that the low unemployment rate could create worker shortages in certain fields, including construction and skilled manufacturing.

“The Massachusetts economy is fast approaching full capacity,” the editorial board of the economic journal MassBenchmarks — made up of economists from the state’s colleges and universities along with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston — said in its 2017 forecast.

“As the labor market for qualified workers becomes ever tighter, the state faces the challenge of helping low- to moderately-skilled unemployed workers slot in to available job openings.”

The unemployment rate in November in Massachusetts dropped to 2.9 percent, the lowest since January 2001. The state’s economy likely grew at a rate of 2 percent in 2016, according to Alan Clayton-Matthews, a Northeastern University economics professor and a senior contributing editor of MassBenchmarks.

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