Reports of the death of manufacturing here, and across the country, have been greatly exaggerated. There is no going back to our industrial heyday, but a new study says manufacturing has a solid future in Massachusetts. In fact, one of the biggest concerns is a possible shortage of trained workers.
By Michael Jonas | Commonwealth Magazine | October 11, 2012
When the great recession battered employment across the country, manufacturing jobs—already on a decades-long slide—took a big hit. In Massachusetts, of the 300,000 manufacturing jobs the state had in 2007, nearly 50,000 disappeared. But a new report on manufacturing in Massachusetts has some good news amidst the recession gloom.
The study, commissioned by The Boston Foundation and led by Barry Bluestone, dean of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, found that manufacturing employment in the state has largely stabilized since 2009, while the sector’s productivity and output have increased markedly. Add to that an aging manufacturing workforce, and the report projects that there will be 100,000 job openings in the sector over the next decade. Indeed, one of the major conclusions of the study, based on a survey of about 700 manufacturing firms and interviews with nearly 60 company CEOs and managers, is that the state must ramp up its education and training pipeline to ensure an adequate supply of skilled labor to meet the looming employment demand. Read More