Massachusetts is a 21 st Century success story, with a very strong and diverse economy. However, statewide numbers do not tell a complete story. Over the past few decades, the decline of traditional manufacturing and the rise of the knowledge economy have disconnected many of the state's regions and their cities from the export-income and investment that is the life-blood of a thriving economy. The stark result has been lower incomes, less job growth and fewer opportunities in many of the state's regions compared to Greater Boston.
Today's challenge is to leverage our state's assets to bring prosperity to every region. Massachusetts has a strong competitive advantage in its leading industries and unparalleled workforce. The key to rebuilding a strong statewide economy is strategically and effectively leveraging all of the state's assets in a framework for regional reinvention and renewal.
Framework for Regional Development
In the 21 st Century, people live, work and play across town and often state borders. Regions are the scale in which housing, labor and job markets intersect, and improving the health of our regional economies is critical for individual opportunity and community development. Empirical research demonstrates that the economic health of regions is tied to the economic health of their urban centers. Where cities are distressed, they will be an anchor to growing regional prosperity. Where they do well, they will lead regional economic growth.
There are four foundational elements that are "drivers" for creating regional prosperity: export growth and productivity; income growth and opportunity; effective governance and civic engagement; and environmental stewardship and sustainability. In practical terms, Massachusetts regions need to foster: schools that succeed in meeting the needs of their students; a diverse mix of industries, especially in knowledge-sectors; well-managed communities with locations for growth; modern connections - virtual and real - to world markets and cultures; and opportunities for individuals to secure their well-being and explore new challenges.
The main areas for the state to focus attention and investment to achieve these goals are: cluster development and innovation; workforce and family economic security; regional and statewide infrastructure; and vital communities.
The Action Agenda
The Framework is guided by four key principles: build upon existing strengths; focus on the fundamentals; plan ahead; and emphasize partnerships, reforms and results.
The full Framework for Action report includes specific recommendations for investments, state/local partnerships and job creation initiatives that will improve economic conditions in the near-term and will create the foundation for long-term prosperity throughout the state. In many instances, the Patrick-Murray Administration has already identified and implemented the most critical initiatives. One example is the new Broadband Initiative, which is the highest priority economic development investment for western Massachusetts. The regional economic development agenda, described at length in the report, is as follows:
- Support job growth and cluster development in export-oriented industries;
- Focus on improvements to education and workforce development;
- Infrastructure: improve connectivity and mobility within and between regions, including the northeastern states, the nation and the world;
- Infrastructure: rebuild statewide infrastructure for the next 25 years;
- Create vital communities and regions throughout Massachusetts;
- Reform state and local policies to focus support to communities and regions; and,
- Revitalize and reconnect our regional urban centers to the knowledge economy.
Framework For Action and Regional Profile Documents
Framework for Action (785 kb)
Massachusetts and regional profiles file size 2MB (2.11 MB)
Statewide profile file size 1MB (1.38 MB)
Boston and Metro Boston regional profile file size 1MB (1.6 MB)
Northeast regional profile file size 1MB (1.49 MB)
Southeast regional profile file size 1MB (1.49 MB)
Cape and Island regional profile file size 1MB (1.48 MB)
Central regional profile file size 1MB (1.49 MB)
Pioneer Valley regional profile file size 1MB (1.48 MB)
Berkshire regional profile file size 1MB (1.51 MB)