Update On The New England Economy

By Bob Seay

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Jan. 31, 2012

federal reserve bank

The Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. (Public domain)
 


BOSTON — Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said after last week’s policy-setting session that all signs suggest the Fed won't change its record-low interest rate for nearly three years.That policy is a sign that full economic recovery is still years away. WGBH News’ Bob Seay sat down with Eric Rosengren, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, to discuss the future of New England’s economy.

Rosengren 32nd-floor office has a commanding view of the city. He notices some construction cranes working along the waterfront and says that’s a hopeful sign that things are improving.
 
Indeed New England’s economy is recovering but ever so slowly. Mostly the region is starting from a better level, Rosengren said: Though New England has not escaped the downturn, "it's better to have been in snow states not sand states." The New England hospitals, pharma and universities have been a strength for the region. Employment rates in New Hampshire and Vermont are well below the national average; the only outlier in the region has been Rhode Island.
 
That said, the difficulty of getting credit isn't helping. l In the last recession, small businesses brought on more people — and usually downturns bring a rise in small business as people strike out on their own. This time around, Rosengren said, "the financing has not been available," which has damaged the robustness of that sector. "It's not been as easy to create a new business."

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