Residents of Massachusetts, beware. You are living on the economy’s cutting edge, which is arisky place to be for businesses and consumers.
At a Friday breakfast meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston’s Federal Reserve president Eric Rosengren laid out some of the unique challenges that come from being in the economic vanguard. Like the possibility that our super-low unemployment rate may also stoke super-high inflation.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent and projected to drop to 3.8 percent by year’s end. But at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel Friday, Rosengren was quick to emphasize that “Massachusetts, and certainly northern New England, are already below that number,” with the state’s unemployment rate now at 3.5 percent.
But that’s not the only figure placing Massachusetts in the vanguard. Greater Boston also has one of the highest inflation rates in the country. As of March, inflation in Boston was running at 3.6 percent, well above the 2.4 percent national rate. Even if you leave out volatile categories like food, energy, or housing, inflation in Greater Boston still looks relatively high.