Boston Fed Releases Inaugural New England Community Outlook Survey; Focuses on Conditions in Lower-Income Communities and Associated Service Providers
BOSTON - The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Community Development department today released the New England Community Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2011, the first report in a quarterly series which seeks to gauge the financial and economic conditions of the region's lower-income communities and the organizations that serve them.
The inaugural survey asks 110 participating service providers to low- and moderate-income households to identify changes in conditions, top challenges, and emerging concerns in the second quarter of 2011.
Survey participants highlighted the availability of jobs, state and local budget cuts, and federal budget cuts. Access to affordable housing and home foreclosures rounded out the top five most-cited challenges facing the region's low- and moderate-income communities.
- Nearly 40% of respondents felt job availability decreased in Q2, while only 15% said it had increased and 45% said that it remained unchanged.
- Respondents were closely divided between those expecting job availability to increase and those expecting it to decrease over the next quarter.
- Respondents cited concerns about budget cut impact on transportation, workforce training, and health care, but were most concerned about impact on social safety net programs.
- In budget cut climate, 61% of respondents saw increase in demand for services.
Among emerging issues, many pointed to a triad of education-related problems: poor educational attainment, a lack of adequate workforce training, and the need for additional financial literacy training.
The survey, available at https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/community-outlook-survey.aspx, will be updated quarterly. New England-area service providers are encouraged to participate.
More information is available at https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/community-outlook-survey.aspx.