By Michael Gaffney

In an article published by the Worcester Business Journal today generously titled “Housing starts continue slow pace in Worcester metro area” by Grant Welker destroyed the misleading narrative pushed by the local media and leadership that Worcester is experiencing a “Renaissance”.

“The Worcester metropolitan area approved 1,769 new housing units last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s an increase of just one unit — less than 0.0005% — from the 1,768 units approved in 2017. . . the rest of Massachusetts approved 12% more housing units last year than in 2017.”

One new housing unit last year?

Less than 0.0005% growth while the state was rocking at 12% growth?

And the City Council not only extended the City Manager’s contract but gave him a raise? Over a quarter of a million dollars a year for complete incompetence?

Let’s recap the complete and utter failure of the council and City Manager:

  1. The Worcester region lost 4,600 jobs last year while the state and the nation are booming.
  2. Not only did the region lose 4,600 jobs, but Worcester lost jobs to the region that lost jobs as local employers moved out of Worcester to surrounding towns.
  3. While the state’s economy grew at 4.6 percent during the first quarter and the nation’s economy grew at 3.2 percent, Worcester’s grew less than one-tenth of a percent.
  4. Nonprofit growth has doubled. It was 20% of total taxable property in 2012 and now represents nearly 50% of the total taxable property in the city.
  5. Worcester has the fifth highest percentage of homeless students among US cities.
  6. According to, the Worcester metro ranks 20th out of cities hit the hardest by extreme poverty. Since 2010, the share of the poor population living in neighborhoods where at least 40% of the population live below the poverty line INCREASED by 3.6 percentage points to 12%. The number of Worcester neighborhoods in which at least 40% of the population are poor doubled from four to eight.
  7. Worcester’s renters are looking to leave the city for Providence and Hartford. (Seriously, Hartford)

Economic growth of 0.1% and less than 0.0005% housing unit growth in the middle of a booming economy?

It’s nearly impossible to fail this badly without trying!

Is it surprising? The City Manager has been a politician his entire life and very clearly has no idea how to run a city. And the collective economic success of the members of city council is akin to the city’s growth numbers . . . less than zero.

Enough of the fluff-pieces from the local media on a Renaissance in the city. Every single economic measure shows the city is in a recession in the middle of one of the highest growth periods in the U.S. in decades.

Enough of the local media’s minute by minute reporting of the $101 million boondoggle of a baseball stadium that will inevitably be subsidized by the taxpayers.

This council and manager need to be called out on their complete and utter failure. Let’s be honest, if a company produced results this bad the Board of Directors and CEO would be fired.

They have no solutions, except to double down on the same stupidity that got them here. They should all do Worcester a favor and just take off the rest of the year.