Wilbraham, MA – Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown spoke about his plans for job creation to a western Massachusetts business group Friday. Meanwhile, a new report cites troubling imbalances in the Massachusetts economic recovery. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
Senator Brown says he's introduced a half dozen pieces of legislation, most of it focused on cutting business regulations and taxes, which he says remain the great impediments to job creation.
Brown, speaking to a Greater Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce lunch in Wilbraham, Friday, said Washington is not sufficiently focused on job creation, and is too caught up in partisan politics.
Brown continues to campaign to repeal an excise tax on medical device manufacturers that is part of the health care reform law. He says the tax hurts an industry that is critical to the Massachusetts economy. He says he's also battling regulations that are strangling the state's fishing industry. Brown has proposed a tax credit for businesses to hire returning veterans and members of the National Guard. The unemployment rate for veterans is 20 percent.
A new analysis of the Massachusetts economy finds it continues to recover on a pace that is ahead of the nation as a whole. That's the concensus of a panel of economists from several universities and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston who make up the editorial board of MassBenchmarks, the economic journal of the University of Massahusetts. Michael Goodman is a co-editor..
Goodman said the state's economic recovery has been driven by growth in healthcare, high tech and innovation intensive industries concentrated in the Greater Boston area. Other areas, such as Springfield, continue to struggle with high unemployment. The report recommends improving public education to close achievement gaps and building science and technological infrastructure such as broadband access.
The unemployment rate in Massachusetts in April was 7 point 8 percent. The Springfield unemployment rate was 11 point 6 percent, down from 12 point 8 percent the month before. The Springfield region added 48 hundred jobs last month according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Kevin Lynn at the FutureWorks Career Center in Springfield says April job postings were up 80 percent from a year ago.
The top industry sectors for hiring in April were manufacturing, healthcare and retail