State House News Service

Report: Mass. Economy Slowed In 4th Quarter

BOSTON — In the face of numerous hurdles, the Massachusetts economy in 2012 grew at its slowest clip of the year in the fourth quarter, slowing to an annualized growth rate of 1 percent, according to data released Wednesday.

However, economic analysts affiliated with the MassBenchmarks bulletin, which is published by the UMass Donahue Institute, say the state economy is “poised for faster growth” in 2013.

Real gross state product grew 2.1 percent in 2012. Prior to Wednesday’s data, the economy grew 2 percent, 2.6 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, in 2012’s first three quarters.

The federal government reported United State real GDP shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter — its first drop since 2009.

“Massachusetts outpaced the nation, but that’s not saying all that much this quarter,” said Dr. Michael Goodman, co-editor of the bulletin and associate professor of public policy at UMass Dartmouth.

The bulletin’s leading index suggests the state economy is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.6 percent over the first half of 2013. As reasons for optimism, authors cited recent employment gains, spending on motor vehicles, and a “surging” stock market, with the Bloomberg stock index for Massachusetts up nearly 10 percent since the beginning of December.

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