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January 14, 2020

Report: Manufacturing vital to the North County economy

Workers assemble furniture at AIS in Leominster, which expanded in 2017.

A new report released on Friday by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce shows the importance the manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare industries are to the region.

Manufacturing, in particular, has the highest location quotient of any industry in North County, meaning it is more heavily concentrated in the region relative to its concentration in the rest of the nation. The study, compiled by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, says manufacturing is twice as concentrated in North County than it is nationwide.

The aggregate earnings of manufacturing employees in North County total $1.5 billion, accounting for 5% of all manufacturing earnings.

The rubber and plastics subsector is the largest contributor to the region's manufacturing industry make up 21% of its manufacturing jobs, followed by computer and electronic manufacturing (15%) and fabricated metal (14%).

The agriculture industry, while smaller in North County, is growing at a faster rate, with its workforce rising 22% from 2010 to 2018. The $93 million in aggregate earnings among North County agriculture workers represents 7% of all statewide agriculture earnings.

The healthcare and social assistance industry remains the largest private employer in North County, with 18,092 jobs.

This research is part of the chamber’s efforts to promote the region and advance its economy, said chamber President & CEO Roy Nascimento. The chamber plans to use the report to showcase the region, answer questions, and support ongoing economic development efforts.

The 41-page profile detailed economic, labor market, and socioeconomic data, as well as analysis of the region's economic conditions. 

Among the findings:

  • North Central Massachusetts has 275,000 residents where a third of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 61% have some college or higher
  • Population growth has been the result of an expanding economy, relatively low home prices that attract homebuyers from Greater Boston and its inner suburbs who are priced-out of the housing market.
  • The proximity to Boston, Worcester, and southern New Hampshire benefits the region’s businesses in terms of labor and market access.
  • Commercial leasing rates are a fraction of Boston’s and significantly lower than those in the MetroWest.
  • The availability of large parcels of land in combination with being close to highways, freight and passenger rail, and airports enhances North Central Massachusetts as a business location for expansions and startups.

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