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Worcester area economy grew 3.2% last year

2/5/2019
Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Front Street in downtown Worcester has seen a new hotel and apartment building open within the past year.

The Worcester area's economy grew 3.2 percent last year, its highest annual rate since the 1990s, according to the latest Worcester Economic Index report Tuesday from Assumption College economics professor Thomas White.
The index gauges local economic activity based on recent area unemployment and employment data. The Worcester metro area's unemployment rate in December was 2.9 percent, beating the national rate of 3.7 percent.
The fourth-quarter rate of 3.1-percent annualized growth was the third straight quarter of growth above 3 percent, White said. He has predicted slightly slower growth in the first half of 2019, at a 2.7-percent annualized rate.
A relative slow-down forecast for the area economy is due to a more sluggish stock market and a tightening of monetary policy, White said.