Weekly business news from Massachusetts and New England
Oct. job cuts make recession official
Any questions about whether Massachusetts is entering a recession were answered Thursday when new statistics showed that the state's employers cut an estimated 7,000 jobs in October.
That was the worst month in more than three years for the local labor market, and the second-worst month since the last economic downturn ended in December 2003.
With the stock market on a roller coaster ride, Boston's mutual fund firms have been among the companies announcing layoffs, with MFS, Putnam and Fidelity all unveiling job cuts in the past two weeks.
Pols square off over gas tax, toll hikes
Talk about increasing the gas tax heated up on Beacon Hill this week after the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority unveiled plans to double its Boston Harbor tunnel tolls to $7 and raise its Mass.
Pike tolls within Route 128 to $2 apiece. House Speaker Sal DiMasi says a gas tax would be a much fairer way to help pay for the MTA's budget shortfall for Big Dig debt payments, especially since this state's gas tax is below the national average. Meanwhile, Gov. Deval Patrick remained cool to the gas tax hike alternative.
Ex-leather co. owner to pay $850K fine
The former owner of the New Bedford leather goods company that was raided last year by immigration officials will pay more than $850,000 to settle claims that the company intentionally violated overtime rules and other wage laws.
A significant portion of the settlement with Michael Bianco Inc. will be shared with more than 750 former employees, most of whom were immigrants.
Shellfishermen to get $2M in Red Tide aid
The state's shellfish industry received a rare bit of happy news when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it would provide $2 million in financial assistance to the industry. The money is aimed at helping Bay State shellfishermen recover from an unusually large red tide outbreak earlier this year.
The Patriot Ledger