Entries by John Friar

Recovering from a Recession

Flash forward a decade and the US cycle starting in 2001 was 4 years; conversely, and ominously for the state, Massachusetts never returned to its February 2001 employment peak, as seen in Figure 1 B. It came close in March 2008, but again began losing jobs due to the latest recession. Nevertheless, if for the purposes of comparison we allow coming close to stand in for a return to peak employment, Massachusetts had a 7-year cycle sinking into and then coming out of the 2001 recession.

The Big Shrink: Declining Establishment Size in Massachusetts

The Big Shrink adds to our understanding by examining the shrinking size of Massachusetts’ firms and the causes of this economy-wide phenomenon in order to determine whether the trend has systemic impacts on our economy and, therefore, one hopes, on policy formation. The paper finds that reduction in firm size is widespread, holding true for all industries and most establishment types.

Heading Down: The Loss of Massachusetts Headquarters

This brief seeks to analyze the impact of changes in the composition of workplaces in Massachusetts to determine the specific impacts the changes in the raw number and percentage share of headquarters have had on job creation and loss.

New Business Creation and The Urban Economy

Policymakers have long grappled with the challenge of revitalizing cities whose economies have declined as manufacturing jobs moved elsewhere. Older industrial cities’ economic woes have compounded other problems, including municipal budget crises, struggling schools, high crime rates, and persistent poverty.

Services for Urban Microentrepreneurs

A recent Pioneer conference on “Microenterprise in Boston: Building the Entrepreneurial City of the Future” included a panel discussion on the range of services offered to microentrepreneurs by various support organizations. Providing a framework for the discussion, John Friar of the Entrepreneurship Center at Northeastern University, conference co-sponsor, spoke of the role of microbusinesses in the economy. Michael Caslin, CEO of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, offered concluding thoughts on the value of entrepreneurship in terms of individual and societal betterment. The remarks of each are excerpted below, followed by a look at the participating organizations and the services they provide.