Boston Area Economy Part of Nationwide Job Gains

Average unemployment in the Boston area economy mirrors that of the U.S., remaining steady at 5%. That’s a 7-year low. As the economy has grown, more people looked for employment. Job additions exceeded expectations according to recently-released November statistics.

Job Growth in the Boston area Economy

Job gains were solid nationwide, with employers adding 211,000 jobs during November. The construction industry was among the biggest gainers, along with private sector services. While there was weaker growth in temporary employment — even among retailers who employ part-timers for the holidays — analysts say this is a good sign of economic recovery.

The Federal Reserve has maintained interest rates at record lows to aid the economy. Most economists believe the Fed will raise interest rates, perhaps for the second time, during the first half of 2016.

A recent survey of business executives show lowered expectations for profit and growth. This is largely due to increased domestic competition and sluggish growth in the manufacturing sector. Others, however, say a boost in retail spending over the holidays may spur a better outlook for business.

One thing seems certain. If the economy can hold on, the growing trend of Baby Boomers retiring will create future job openings. It is expected there will be more than 50 million job openings in the next ten years. Roughly 30 million of the jobs will be to replace retiring Baby Boomers.

While short-term growth sounds good, analysts are quick to issue a word of caution. They say with the nation’s place in an ever-important global economy there are factors that may hurt growth and prosperity. Continued instability in China’s economy and the increased threats of terrorism throughout the world may impact possible improvement in the U.S. economy.

Find more information about the Boston area economy by checking out the various sections of articles just below the Boston area Real Estate Categories heading to your right. We also post articles and information daily on Facebook and Twitter.

The Boston Area Economy: Saving vs Spending

Recent statistics show Americans are saving faster than they are spending. The shift in consumer spending habits in the Boston area economy began during the most recent recession. The trend looks like it will continue heading into the holiday shopping season and beyond.

The Frugal Boston area Economy

The shift in spending habits in the Boston area economy began in the last recession.

Americans saved over $40 billion in October alone. The savings rate grew to 5.6% — the highest level in almost three years. Spending only rose 0.1% between September and October.

According to experts, when the savings rate increases and spending is lukewarm it often means consumers are worried about the economy. That worry means tighter spending. Despite the higher savings rate, it doesn’t necessarily mean consumers fear a recession. The U.S. Commerce Department reported the economy actually performed better than expected during the third quarter, with growth of 2.1% — higher than initial estimates of 1.5%.

Recent trends in the Boston area economy show consumers are still spending, but are cautious with their purchases. Experts say they may be saving money for larger ticket items. Spending on smaller purchases is decreasing. Big box retailers like Target and Walmart expect sales this year to be relatively flat.

However, big ticket items do seem to be more popular. Automobile sales in the U.S. reached an all-time high this fall, and the sale of new homes are up over the previous year. Large home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot report increase in purchases of items costing $900 or more, including roofing material and kitchen counter tops.

This shift could mean homeowners are looking to make improvements to better maintain and add value to their homes. As a result, even when homeowners spend money on their homes — their largest asset — they may be accumulating greater wealth by increasing their home equity through adding value.

The bottom line is the Boston area economy is still seeing spending — it’s just more selective and more frugal. And as the saying goes, selective and frugal spending is better than no spending at all.

Find more articles and information that may affect the Boston area economy in our Boston area Real Estate News section to your right under Boston area Real Estate Categories. We also post news and tips each day on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us there for even more up to the minute news on the Boston area economy and how it could impact you.

The Boston Area Economy: A Scam is Born

A scam tied to the new “smart-chip” enabled credit and debit cards has reached the Boston area economy as millions of Americans await their banks to send the new cards. While the chips are designed to put an end to counterfeiting, as usual, the bad guys have other things in mind.

Crooks Target The Boston Area Economy

Because it’s new, scammers are banking on you not knowing much about the smart-chip cards and how the banks will issue them. They’re sending out emails under the guise of your bank or financial institution requesting that you “updated their files” so they can mail you your new credit or debit card. Naturally, what they’re really trying to do is steal your personal financial information — either by you completing the emailed form or clicking a link in the email that would download malware to obtain it. It’s just the latest in a series of identity theft scams to hit the Boston area economy.

Protect yourself as best as possible by knowing these tips:

  1. More likely than not, your bank will automatically send you your new card by mail. If you don’t receive it, call them and request it.
  2. Banks and financial institutions rarely call you on the telephone to request information of a confidential and sensitive nature about your checking, savings or loan accounts.
  3. Don’t click on suspicious email links. If you receive an email that asks you to do so, call your bank and verify it as soon as possible.

If you think you may have already fallen prey to this most recent identity theft scam, don’t panic. Call your bank and notify them of what happened. Report it to the local authorities, the credit bureaus and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.) Lastly, monitor your credit report for any signs of identity theft or anything else unusual.

Being vigilant is one of the best ways you can thwart the scammers trying to illegally profit in the Boston area economy.
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Save Money in the Boston Area Economy

Trying to navigate the Boston area economy can be challenging. However, if you’re a savvy shopper you already know there are good times and bad times to buy certain products and merchandise, and the month of August is no exception. Here are a few tips of what to buy — and not to buy — during August. Follow the advice of retail experts and you’ll save money in today’s Boston area economy.

Retail Do’s and Don’t’s in the Boston Area Economy

What to Buy in August:

Because clothing retailers are anxious to make room for their fall and early winter merchandise, August is a great time to purchase summer goods at a deep discount. Swimsuits and accessories, along with summer fashions will be priced to sell fast.

In addition, industry experts point to huge bargains on items such as patio furniture, with savings up to 75%; barbecue grills discounted from 25% – 60% and laptop computers fueled by back-to-school demand at discounts of 25% or more.

Avoid Purchasing These Items in August:

As popular as Apple’s array of products are, Boston area economy experts suggest avoiding their purchase during August. The primary reason is Apple’s history of introducing newer models of iPad’s, iPhone’s and other devices from September to mid-October to get ready for the holiday shopping season. Waiting until the newer models hit the shelves may mean bigger discounts and greater savings on previous models.

So, shop smart and save money in today’s Boston area economy… not just in August, but throughout the whole year.

Find more articles about the Boston area economy by checking out our Boston Economy section to your right just below our Boston Real Estate Categories.

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Boston Area Investors Favor Real Estate

Boston area investors, like many other Americans, are still a little nervous about Wall Street and recent activity in the stock market. In a recent survey, Bankrate.com reported that the majority of its respondents feel more bullish about the real estate market than other long-term investments. Characterizing long-term investments as those with a duration of 10 years or more, the survey cited real estate as the most popular investment with 27%. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed preferred cash investments (CDs, Money Market Funds, etc.), 17% preferred the stock market. Gold, silver and other precious metals were at 14% and bonds finished at 5%.

Boston area investors were recently included in a survey by Bankrate.com

Despite the S&P 500 enjoying a 27% increase over the past two years, in general, stocks were only slightly more popular as an investment in 2015 versus 2013.

Boston Area Investors Participate in Survey

The survey included information submitted by 1,000 adult residents of the United States and included Boston area investors in the questionnaire. Surveyors gleaned results based on geographic location, age, gender, and political affiliation. Women surveyed were more likely to favor cash investments offering less risk and greater security. Men were more likely to invest in real estate.

Interestingly, college graduates largely comprised the group most likely to prefer investing in stocks. Geographically, the western states favored real estate investments by a two to one margin over other investment options.

Not surprisingly, 32% of millennials (defined as those age 18-29) cited cash as their most popular long-term investment. In addition, the same percentage — 32% — of Generation Xers (those between 30-40) favored real estate, a popular choice of Boston area investors.

Those earning less than $50,000 per year said they felt “more secure” in their investments, while those earning $50,000 – $74,900 weren’t quite as confident in their investments. Additionally, Republican respondents were three times more likely to say they felt “less secure” about their jobs than Democratic counterparts.

The July Bankrate Financial Security Index posted a positive response for the 14th consecutive monthly period, but July was the second lowest month of the year so far. Analysts attribute the ranking in part to an overall downward slide in job security. Of those surveyed, 22% felt “more secure” about their job situation than they did just a year ago, while 14% said they feel “less secure.” Sixty-two percent felt “about the same” compared to a year ago.

Stay abreast of all the news affecting Boston area real estate, and what Boston area investors are finding most attractive by continuing to follow our blog, and also remember to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.