Bloomberg named Massachusetts the most innovative state in America last month, citing the powerful ripple effect that its world-class universities have on job creation, the cultivation of a highly-skilled workforce, and the Commonwealth’s strong and attractive business climate. The Massachusetts economy added more than 73,000 jobs in 2015, representing the strongest growth in the last 15 years. According to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts optimism is already driving business confidence and the economic outlook for 2016.
Just a week after Bloomberg released its index, General Electric announced it had chosen Boston as the home of its new headquarters, after a three-year due diligence process, the review of nearly 40 potential sites, and a concerted effort by Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh. GE’s decision to move to the Hub was focused around an important part of its corporate philosophy: “We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations” as a leader in digital-industrial activities, said GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt.
GE is just one example of many businesses that are choosing Boston and the Commonwealth as their new homes. In a recent Boston Globe article, Fred Breimyer, a local economist and former president of the New England Economic Partnership, touched on the industries that have made the Massachusetts economy hum with innovation, diversity, talent and success: “GE’s decision to relocate here is a tech story. But it’s also a manufacturing story. It’s a life-science story. It’s a higher-education story. It’s a combination of a lot of stories that are interwoven together in Boston.”
I couldn’t agree more. Twenty-five years ago, I founded O’Neill and Associates around the major sectors that then drove the New England economy. Just as the City of Boston and the region have grown and transformed, we have too as our company adeptly embraces the new industries of the modern economy. As I look ahead to the rest of 2016 and beyond, I am encouraged by the optimism and the progress that define Massachusetts. The state’s unemployment rate remains at 4.7 percent, better than the national average of five percent. And in Boston alone, one in three residents is between the ages of 20 and 34, many are graduates of our renowned colleges and universities. We should do all that we can to support and encourage this new generation to establish homes and careers here in the Hub.
Now, more than ever, Massachusetts and the City of Boston are truly open for business, and there has never been a better time to be a part of our economy, our ecosystem. At O’Neill and Associates, we’ll never forget where we came from. And we’re glad to be a part of where our community is going.