Economics

Got robots?

Got robots?

Dairy farmers use technology to eke out a living

Sixth-generation family farmers Dave and Steve Barstow have stretched the limits of what dairy farmers can do to stay afloat. They opened a store and bakery on their dairy farm at the foot of Mt. Holyoke in Hadley. They generate electricity from composted cow manure and food scraps. They even market a line of farm(...)

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Jobless rates dropping all over MA

Jobless rates dropping all over MA

Of 10 metro areas in US with biggest declines, 7 from Bay State

NEW ECONOMIC DATA suggest the state’s labor market is nearing full capacity, which is translating into employment gains across the state and not just in metropolitan Boston. A group of Massachusetts economists released a MassBenchmarks report on Wednesday suggesting tight labor market conditions are likely to lead to worker shortages in some occupations and high(...)

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Airbnb launches charm offensive

Airbnb launches charm offensive

TV ads come as Beacon Hill considers regulation

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE WITH A POLICY BATTLE on the Beacon Hill horizon, the short-term rental company Airbnb has launched a TV advocacy campaign framing itself as a boon to local small business, a check against inequality, and a reliable source of income for hosts. The charm offensive comes as legislative leaders appear to be(...)

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The toughest mile

The toughest mile

State provides funding to wire rural towns for internet

IN 2008, THE Patrick administration set out to wire 123 cities and towns in western Massachusetts for broadband. But eight years, 1,200 miles of fiber-optic cable, and nearly $100 million later, the effort has stalled with 44 communities still without high-speed internet. The towns that remain essentially disconnected—or, in the words of state officials, “unserved”—represent(...)

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Mending the social fabric

Mending the social fabric

Yuval Levin wants us to knit together pieces of American Dream

The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism By Yuval Levin New York: Basic Books 262 pages   SPEND SOME TIME in West Virginia or Kentucky and you begin to understand why Donald Trump has made it so far as a candidate for president. Making America great again sells well in(...)

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New poverty numbers are misleading

New poverty numbers are misleading

Census data overlook other facets of the problem

NEW CENSUS NUMBERS released last month saw incomes rise by 5 percent nationally and the poverty rate dropping to 13.5 percent from 14.8. The news made major headlines. Many are celebrating. And yes, it is the right direction, but these numbers paint a misleading picture. A look behind the numbers shows our families are being short-changed. There(...)

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Pay equity law’s unintended consequences

Pay equity law’s unintended consequences

Women need to negotiate what they deserve

WITH THE PASSAGE of “An Act to Establish Pay Equity,” young women entering the workforce in Massachusetts might figure that they are protected from the gender-based inequalities that have been documented in employment. We don’t see it that way. That the law is well-intentioned is not the issue. For example, why should an employer expect(...)

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Sandwich shop struggling on Boston Common

Sandwich shop struggling on Boston Common

Outdoor seating and seasonal opening make rough go for chain

THE EARL OF SANDWICH is struggling financially at its Boston Common restaurant location, with losses mounting and revenues declining. The city of Boston hasn’t taken a hit—rental payments to the city are a flat $50,000 a year, not a percentage of sales—but the deteriorating financial situation raises concerns about whether the restaurant chain will stick(...)

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The income-growth challenge in Gateway Cities

Wage stagnation has hit mid-sized cities particularly hard.

IT’S POSSIBLE FOR an economy to grow in ways that expand opportunity and promote broadly shared prosperity. We know that’s possible because it’s exactly what happened in the United States in the three decades after World War II. Each year, the economy grew at a strong clip and incomes grew for low, middle, and high-income(...)

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