With commercial real estate as the lone hold out, most sectors in New England expect a recovery to take hold in 2010. At this moment though, here are signs of improvement but major doubts that they will last from one month to the next. Overall economic activity remains below what it was a year ago.
Retail: Respondents reporting positive sales attribute growth in part to consumers looking for deals for the upcoming holidays, while contacts observing softer sales convey concern about the effect of unemployment rates on consumer spending Several retailers also indicate they believe that notwithstanding some early signs of recovery, consumers are much more cautious today than in previous years
Manufacturing: Biopharmaceuticals companies indicate that their revenues continue to increase. Some equipment makers report that sales have picked up from their depressed levels in the first half of the year, while others say their business remains in a slump. Respondents across a variety of industries note that sales to retailers, restaurants, and personal services establishments remain depressed.
Staffing Services: While year-over-year revenues are still down--from 10 percent to 60 percent--revenues are improving on a sequential basis, with increases reported in billing hours and number of assignments. Demand remains better for temporary hires, with permanent placements seeing at most marginal increases.
Commercial Real Estate: Contacts indicate nearly uniformly that the region's commercial real estate market continued its downward trajectory in recent weeks. Leasing activity is very weak and downward pressure on rents remains intense.