State economy shrinks by 4.2 percent in the first quarter; No power shortage seen for New England this summer; Golf ball maker to slice nearly 170 jobs in Southeastern Massachusetts; Dorchester service station to pay $72,000 to settle allegations of bogus car inspections.
Economy shrinks 4.2% for quarter
BOSTON – The Massachusetts economy is still in a state of severe decline, but at least that rate of decline seems to be slowing down. That’s the word from the University of Massachusetts economists who write the monthly MassBenchmarks report.
The latest report shows that the state’s economic activity declined at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with a national decline of 6.1 percent over the same timeframe.
The report predicts that the worst of the state’s recession could be in the past, with an anticipated annualized decline of 2.8 percent in the state’s economic activity over the next six months. The only economic indicator that UMass researchers use for their monthly report to show a positive long-term trend in March was growth in the stock prices of the state’s public companies.
No power shortage seen for this summer
HOLYOKE – New England’s economic slowdown has at least one benefit: There’s no need to worry if the region will have enough electricity this summer.
ISO New England, the Holyoke operator of the region’s electricity grid, said current economic conditions are expected to keep peak demand for power this summer essentially unchanged from 2008 levels.
Peak electricity demand could approach 28,000 megawatts at one point under normal wealth conditions, while the region’s power plants can provide more than 31,000 megawatts of power. One megawatt can typically power as many as 1,000 homes.
Golf ball sales down, Acushnet Co. cuts 169 jobs
FAIRHAVEN – The global slump in the sale of golf balls has prompted Acushnet Co. to cut 169 jobs at its Titleist ball plants and custom shop operations, according to The Standard-Times of New Bedford. The newspaper reported that the cuts represent about 11 percent of the company’s current local work force of 1,500 people. Layoffs will take place at plants in Dartmouth, New Bedford and Fairhaven. The Fairhaven-based company also said in February that it would cut 200 other jobs through layoffs and buyouts.
Inspection scam costs $72,000, suspension
BOSTON – A Dorchester motor vehicle inspection station will pay $72,000 and accept a six-month suspension of its inspection license to settle Attorney General Martha Coakley’s allegations that it conducted at least 72 illegal emission inspections.
The settlement with Dorchester Auto Service Inc. was filed in Suffolk Superior Court earlier this week. Coakley said that George Nelson, an inspector employed at the business who allegedly conducted the fraudulent inspections, will have his license revoked as part of the settlement. Coakley said motorists who wanted to avoid expensive repairs for a vehicle that failed an emissions test or had a “check engine” light could get a passing sticker by going to the business and asking for “Joe the Fish.” The judgment suspends half of a $144,000 penalty against the business, which means it could be on the hook for the other half if it is caught in another violation.
Patriot Ledger staff