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Slower Job Growth in Providence-Fall River-New Bedford

February 14th, 2012

Some regions will grow jobs slower than others, experts predict.

On February 1, 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its “Employment Projections—2010-2020” projecting a hopeful addition (or regaining) of 20.5 million new jobs in the United States. Given that the “Baby Boomers” will age out of the employment pool and expand to fully one quarter of the US population, it is no surprise that healthcare jobs will be the fastest growing sector over the decade. The largest job losses are projected to be in manufacturing and the federal government. Apparel knitting mills are expected to lose 92,000 jobs and the Post Office is expected to lose 182,000 jobs.

BLS economists try to predict job growth by region. In general terms, population density is a predictor of demand. (The more people, the more buyers of goods and services.) Industry concentration is a predictor of supply. Our region, Providence-Fall River-New Bedford, is a mixed bag. We have a large, if slow growing population, but a heavy investment in the declining manufacturing sector.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist of real estate search engine Trulia, and a commentator for Huffington Post, adds another factor when he predicts job growth trends. The weather. According to California resident Kolko, milder and dryer is better.

In “Where the Jobs Will Be in 2020“, Kolko challenges the BLS criteria for growth. “The decades long shift of American jobs and people from the Rustbelt toward the sun will continue,” he says. When he ranks the 100 largest metro regions in the US for job growth, Providence-Fall River-New Bedford ranks 92nd out of 100.

Maybe global warming will alter Kolko’s predictions.

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