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Updated: December 26, 2022 Economic Forecast 2023

How did we do with WBJ’s 2022 predictions?

Photo | William Westgard-Cruice Clark University grad worker union walks out on strike.

In December 2022, the WBJ Editorial staff made 10 predictions of what this year’s headlines would bring. They were bold, and they were mostly wrong. We got three right. Here are our predictions and what actually happened.


More Central Massachusetts workers will be represented by labor unions.

This prediction is awaiting official approval, which will come when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its annual unionization report on Jan. 19. However, the percent of Mass. workers represented by unions rose from 12.8% in 2020 to 13.6% in 2021, and Central Mass. saw significant union wins at Clark University, Saint Vincent Hospital, Milford Regional Medical Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Starbucks, so the chances this prediction is correct is very likely.

[Related: Check out the WBJ newsroom's predictions for 2023.]


Amazon will announce even more facilities in Central Massachusetts.

While it did consolidate its older warehouse in Milford, the online retail giant unveiled plans in 2022 for new operations in Westborough, Charlton, and Grafton.


Maura Healey will be the next governor of Massachusetts.

This prediction was a lot bolder than it seems, as Attorney General Healey hadn’t even announced her gubernatorial candidacy until after this prediction was made. With Gov. Charlie Baker not running for re-election and Republican candidate Geoff Diehl giving a half-hearted attempt in the election, Healey won the race easily with 64% of the vote.


Rent control becomes a major issue in Worcester.

Rising rents remain an ongoing issue in the city, as they’ve risen 80% in the last seven years. Government and community officials are working to help alleviate the problem, but the conversation has centered around a proposed inclusionary zoning policy, not rent control.


The City of Worcester will again fail to generate enough revenue to cover its Polar Park debt payment.

We’re taking partial credit for this one, as the City’s planned revenues in the ballpark taxing district only raised $655,374 of the $2 million that was needed. However, the City’s $3-million sale of public property near the ballpark went through during the fiscal year, so technically the City got what it needed to make its payment.


The Worcester Regional Transit Authority will make free fares a permanent policy.

Initially adopted in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, WRTA has extended the fare-free policy through June 2023 and is still in discussions to make it permanent. But that hasn’t happened yet.


The Massachusetts cannabis industry surpasses $2 billion in annual sales.

Through the end of November, the combined adult-use and medical marijuana sales in the state totaled just under $1.6 billion. That is an annual record for the young industry, but it won’t crack $2 billion by the end of the year.


Central Massachusetts home prices continue double-digit percent increases.

Even as the number of sales have slowed toward the end of 2022, the median home price in Central Massachusetts continues to rise, although it has started to taper off. Year to date through November, the median price of a sold home in Worcester County was $408,000, a 9% increase from the first 11 months of 2021.


The Massachusetts Nurses Association union will lose its foothold at Saint Vincent Hospital.

Shortly after the 301-day nurses strike ended in January, Saint Vincent was full of non-union nurses who had filled in during the strike. A number of union members who were dissatisfied with the MNA’s handling of the labor stoppage held a vote to decertify the union at the hospital. That effort failed 302-133.


Another Central Massachusetts college will close.

After Becker College in Worcester closed in 2021, it appeared another small Central Massachusetts college with little endowment and limited applications would struggle as the higher education industry suffers through the demographic drop in the number of high school graduates. Instead, all the region’s colleges open at the start of 2022 remain open today.

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