This update to the original Staying Power shows that manufacturing productivity continues to increase at a rate much faster than the rest of the economy, and we forecast that there will be over 100,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector over the next decade in Massachusetts based on the plans of firms to grow along with projected retirements in the workforce.

Staying Power II

A Report Card on Manufacturing in Massachusetts 2012

Released in October 2012, Staying Power II found, as did the first report in 2008, that the manufacturing sector in Massachusetts is more robust and resilient than is commonly perceived. Productivity continues to increase at a rate much faster than the rest of the economy. Manufacturing remains the sixth-largest sector of the state’s economy and yet represents the second-largest sector in terms of size of payroll.Expected Production of MA Mfg Firms

Also, as was uncovered in 2007, more than 100,000 job openings are forecast in the manufacturing sector over the next decade in Massachusetts based on the plans of firms to grow, along with projected retirements in the workforce.

And yet there remain a number of challenges, particularly the ability of firms to recruit skilled craftspeople and fill other critical positions. Nearly a quarter of those firms find it very difficult to recruit R&D personnel. And one of the most disturbing concerns revealed by this report is that only one in eight of these firms consider the state’s community colleges to be a vital training ground for the workers they need.

More must be done to improve training for a sufficient workforce that will meet the current and future needs of manufacturing. The Commonwealth’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative has engaged hundreds of industry leaders along with government and nonprofit leaders to address the sector’s most significant challenges and opportunities.

Change in Mfg Establishments 2002-2011With state government paying much more attention to the manufacturing sector, and the White House calling attention to manufacturing’s future nationwide, the sector in 2012 was no longer suffering from a lack of respect. It was rather in a position to take up many of the recommendations made by firms in the state in order to make sure the Commonwealth puts in place programs and policies that will permit manufacturing to flourish throughout Massachusetts once again.

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