Just Like Deval Promised

I know the election's over - I have no interest in replaying it. But I do think it's important for people to come to grips with just how devious our politicians are, and none are more skillful at tricking voters than Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

The Massachusetts economy, which grew strongly in the first half of this year, will slow considerably over the next several months before accelerating again near the middle of 2011, according to a new forecast.

The forecast, released today by the nonprofit New England Economic Partnership, expects the struggling national economy to weigh on the recovery here, leading to anemic job growth through the rest of this year and into the first few months of next year. But as the national economy picks up later in 2011, so will the state economy, creating jobs at a solid clip, according to the forecast.

It will take another two and a half years to get back to where we were when the downturn began. A long, miserable slog.

All told, the state will add about 30,000 jobs next year, and about twice than number, or 60,000 in 2012, according to the forecast. By early 2013, the state will have regained all the jobs lost in the recent recession, although total employment will remain below the all-time peak hit in 2001.

There are reasons that the Massachusetts economy has a somewhat lower unemployment rate than much of the rest of the country, but none of them have to do with Deval.

Massachusetts, due to an industrial mix that relies more on technology and business spending, and less on housing and consumer spending, has recovered from the recession faster than the nation as whole. The state economy has expanded faster than the national economy in each of the past three quarters, and the rate of job growth in the first nine months of the year has been nearly triple the national rate.

Let's assume the obvious - this news was well known to the governor, who we pay to know such things, but wasn't shared with us while he was seeking reelection. Which means he was hiding information from those who employ him in order to keep his job.

Once the state gets through the next several months of slow growth, the outlook is upbeat, according to the forecast. The unemployment rate will decline steadily, falling below 6 percent in 2013. Income growth will accelerate, from a 1.7 percent rate this year, to 3.2 percent next year, and 5.1 percent in 2012.

In other words, the unemployment rate, currently at 8.4% in the state, will drop at a rate slower than one tenth of one percent per month before it gets to a level for which George Bush was accused of overseeing a dismal economy.