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Boston Jobs Market: 2017 Mid-Year Review

Boston Jobs Market: 2017 Mid-Year Review

Whether you’re an executive at a Boston business in need of a recruitment strategy or a candidate looking for a job, it’s important to understand the realities facing your industry and local economy. Here we’ve gathered the most recent news and predictions for hiring and employment in Boston:

The talent market in the Boston metro area is one of the tightest in the nation. Employment outside of the agricultural industry grew by 42,800 jobs between April 2016 and April 2017. The professional and business services sector experienced the largest employment gains with the addition of 15,500 jobs. The education and health services industries, which together comprise Boston’s largest sector, added 15,100 jobs. The financial activities sector added 5,500, while government added 4,300. All of the above sectors in Boston outpaced the national growth in these sectors. Manufacturing was the only sector to lose jobs over the same time period.1

The region’s unemployment rate increased slightly in May to 3.8 percent. This was a rise of .4 percent since April, and 1.3 percent since December. At the end of 2016, the statewide unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, which was Massachusetts’ lowest rate in 16 years.2

Stagnant wage growth is thought to be a contributing factor in the labor shortage in Massachusetts and nationwide. The low wages are not enticing people back into the labor market, which impedes the labor force participation rate. This marker has declined across the country for the past decade, though it rose slightly in Massachusetts last year. This stagnant growth is most strongly affecting people in part-time and customer service positions.3

Big Business Arrivals in Boston

Berkshire Bank is merging with Worcester-based Commerce Bank to become Massachusetts’ second largest bank after Santander, and relocating their headquarters to Boston. Berkshire said it will move its headquarters downtown before the end of 2017, but has not yet designated the exact location. Berkshire has 1,670 employees and Commerce has 230 employees in branches across New England, New York State, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The company has not said how many jobs it expects to bring to Boston.4

Amazon’s well-publicized national hiring blitz includes Beantown. The e-commerce retail giant has leased 150,000 square feet in Fort Point. The company expects to employ 900 people at the new site, adding to 700 employees now working in its Cambridge office and 200 employees in a co-working space in Back Bay.5

In May, General Electric broke ground on its much-anticipated headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District. The company’s relocation from Connecticut to Boston is part of an effort to position itself as an industrial organization at the forefront of digital technologies. The corporate headquarters will bring more than 800 jobs to Boston.6

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1 Boston Area Employment — 2017. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor. Web. April 2017, accessed 3 August 2017.
2 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH. Economy at a Glance. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. Accessed 3 Aug 2017.
3 Johnston, Katie. “Hiring Sale: Job Availability on the Rise.” The Boston Globe. Web. 14 June 2017, accessed 3 Aug 2017.
4 Ryan, Greg. “Berkshire Bank to Acquire Commerce and Move HQ to Boston.” Web. 22 May 2017, accessed 3 Aug 2017.
5 Carlock, Catherine & O’Brien, Kelly J. “Amazon Confirms New Boston Office, Plans to Hire 900.” Boston Business Journal. Web. 10 July 2017, accessed 3 Aug 2017.
6 Dumcius, Gintautas. “As GE Breaks Ground on its New Boston Headquarters, Here’s How Massachusetts Drew the Company to Boston’s Seaport District.” MassLive. Web. 9 May 2017, accessed 3 Aug 2017.
7 Oakes, Bob. “For Many Would-Be Buyers, The Boston Area’s Housing Market is a Little Too Hot.” WBUR. Web. 11 July 2017, accessed 3 Aug 2017.


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