Governor Deval Patrick blamed political gridlock in Washington and the so-called fiscal cliff as a “direct cause” of the economic slowdown that has tamped state tax collections and created a $500 million budget shortfall. But economists say other factors deserve more blame.
A weak national recovery and global economic slowdown have weighed on the Massachusetts economy since spring, they say. From April to June, before fiscal cliff references became ubiquitous, employers in the state said their payrolls grew at an annual rate of less than 1 percent, a significant downshift from the 4 percent rate of growth in hiring in the previous three months, according to the US Labor Department.
“It’s not entirely due to the fiscal cliff,” Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews said of the cutbacks. “We’re all being affected by the slower growth in the US economy and the slowdown in growth in Asia. The world economy is slowing.”