In Mass­a­chu­setts, unem­ploy­ment also remains high — 7 per­cent in December, com­pared with 6.7 per­cent nation­ally. But Alan-​​Clayton Matthews, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity eco­nomics pro­fessor and one of authors of the UMass report, said he expects those rates to come down.

He said the economy appears headed into a “clas­sical recovery phase,” in which increased con­sumer spending encour­ages busi­nesses to expand and hire, which boosts con­sumer con­fi­dence, which leads to more spending. In Mass­a­chu­setts, sales taxes, an indi­cator of con­sumer spending, jumped at a 9.2 per­cent annual rate in the last three months of 2013, com­pared to 1.5 per­cent in the same period a year ago.

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