Regional economy still isn’t gathering steam

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By Dan O’Brien | The Lowell Sun | October 28, 2012

John Mattheos, owner of Salon Mattheos, has been building his brand in Lowell for 20 years. He’s seen strong economic times and weak ones.

Earlier this year, Mattheos took advantage of a still-depressed real-estate market to scoop up a foreclosed property on Rogers Street, then invested tens of thousands of dollars to renovate it into a salon.

“I grew up in this neighborhood, Belvidere, so I figured I would do really well here,” Mattheos said in a recent interview. “It’s been OK. But I really thought I’d be able to get to that next level by now.”

More than three years after the last recession (supposedly) ended, many businesses are just not seeing the strong comeback they anticipated would happen.

Because it really hasn’t happened.

A report released Friday from MassBenchmarks, a journal of the Massachusetts economy published by the UMass Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that economic growth in Massachusetts was a mere 1.9 percent during the third quarter. Read More

State’s manufacturers are grinding out more good jobs

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Sector’s future getting brighter

By Lisa Eckelbecker | The Worcester Telegram | September 30, 2012

Mark Fisher and his eight employees can bend steel to their will.

Yet what they’d like at Merchant’s Fabrication Inc., the nine-person business on Elm Street that Mr. Fisher bought in 2009, is a little more attention. “We’d like to have people know we’re here,” said Mr. Fisher. Read More

Mass. loses its edge over US in economic growth

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By Todd Wallack | The Boston Globe | September 28, 2012

The Massachusetts economy, which had been expanding faster than the national average, thanks largely to the state’s strengths in technology and medical research, is now barely growing at all because of economic problems around the world, according to a group of nearly a dozen local economists.

The MassBenchmarks panel reported Thursday that the state’s economy has slipped into “lower gear” because of the European debt crisis, slower growth in China, reduced US business investment in technology, and growing uncertainty in Washington over the future of taxes and budget spending.

“It’s a little ugly,” said Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews, senior contributing editor for MassBenchmarks, who predicted the Massachusetts economy would grow at a meager 1 percent in the third quarter of this year. “We are no longer growing faster than the nation.” Read More

Illinois company in final stages of bidding to make high-speed rail cars for Amtrak

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By Alejandra Cancino | Chicago Tribune | September 28, 2012

A rail manufacturer based in Illinois is in the final rounds of bidding to build 130 high-speed passenger rail cars for use on Amtrak routes in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and California.

The order would total $352.3 million.

The bid was submitted by Sumitomo Corp. of America and Nippon Sharyo U.S.A., which opened a $35 million passenger rail car plant in Rochelle in July.
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Joan Fitzgerald at the Inner City Economic Summit

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Joan Fitzgerald recently spoke on a panel at the Inner City Economic Summit, put on by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

“Cities across the country are creating innovative models and collaborative partnerships to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic development. By identifying industry strengths and then connecting capital, land use and business development strategies to these, city leaders can have a greater impact on their communities. At the same time, these strategies need a specific focus on the city’s most distressed areas in order to ensure that all city residents have a path to economic opportunity. What Works case studies along with groundbreaking research will equip participants with a framework to create accessible jobs and maximize investment in their cities.” – description from the Summit program

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