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Leading Locations for 2013: The New England MSAs

July 2013
According to Ross Gittell, vice president and forecast manager for the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP), the New England States of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont were not as negatively affected as other parts of the country by the recent recession. He further notes, “Vermont and New Hampshire are among the five states with the lowest unemployment in the country…they have fairly diversified economies, and fairly high percentages of adults with college degrees.”

The fastest-growing sectors in New England include high technology, professional and business services, and private education and healthcare services. Employment “is driven by our highly educated population and higher education infrastructure, institutions that are world leaders in research and innovation,” Gittell explains.

The number-one Leading Location in the New England region is Framingham, Massachusetts, which has been recognized for its high quality of life and high-tech work force. Three other Massachusetts MSAs also place on the top-10 list for the region — Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Barnstable Town, and Peabody.

With more than $4 billion in new development projects, the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MSA actually places second in the region. Its outstanding educational system (Cambridge is home to Harvard University) and high-quality of life has attracted a diverse, young population, many of whom work in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, defense, IT, and the life sciences.

Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont, is the number-three Leading Location in the New England region. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, this MSA’s industries include financial services, education, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and tourism.

In March of 2012, Forbes named Portland, Maine (number seven among New England’s Leading Locations) among the top 10 cities for job prospects. South Portland’s proximity to air, marine, and highway transportation has made it a thriving center for industry.

    • City
    • State
    • 2010
    • Overall
    • 1.
    • Framingham (NECTA DIVISION)
    • MA
    • 263,875
    • 9
    • Framingham, MA Founded in 1700 about 20 miles from Boston, Framingham is a thriving, diverse community that is frequently recognized for its high quality of life and well educated work force. Money magazine ranked it 36th among the top 100 small cities in its "2012 Best Places to Live" study.

      Framingham is the world headquarters for big companies like TJX, Staples, Cumberland Farms/Gulf, and Bose Corporation. Advanced manufacturing and biotechnology are both growing fields. Framingham State University (FSU) and Mass Bay Community College are active partners with the business community and strive to have their programs meet local work force needs. FSU is also expanding its science and technology programs to meet the growing demand for biotechnology workers.

      According to the MetroWest Economic Research Center at Framingham State University, combining the city's highly skilled, technology-savvy work force with plentiful high-wage jobs and low unemployment has resulted in "households with incomes substantially above state and national averages."
    • 2.
    • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (NECTA DIVISION)
    • MA
    • 2,863,943
    • 13
    • Boston, MAWith over $4 billion in new development projects totaling more than 10 million square feet under construction, Boston is booming. The Innovation District along the South Boston waterfront has attracted over 200 new companies and 4,000 new jobs across a variety of industries, including technology, life sciences, design, and advertising. Vertex Pharmaceuticals is currently building its $800 million, 1.1-million-square-foot global headquarters in the heart of the district.

      The Boston MSA enjoys an international reputation for healthcare and medicine. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, nearly 75,000 people in the Boston MSA are employed in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries — second only to San Diego. Boston's 22 hospitals and 34 colleges and universities are important anchors in the city's economy. The city is also the leading recipient for National Institute of Health funding in the U.S. — in fact, five of the top eight NIH-funded hospitals are within the Boston MSA.

      An outstanding educational system and high quality of life are just two reasons why Boston has such a diverse and youthful population — about one third of the city's population is between the ages of 20 and 35. Many of these energetic, young professionals work in the high-tech growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, clean energy, defense, IT, and life sciences/biomedicine.
    • 3.
    • Burlington-South Burlington (NECTA)
    • VT
    • 198,627
    • 32
    • 4.
    • Barnstable Town (NECTA)
    • MA
    • 239,675
    • 96
    • 5.
    • Peabody (NECTA DIVISION)
    • MA
    • 246,481
    • 120
    • 6.
    • Manchester (NECTA)
    • NH
    • 187,596
    • 185
    • 7.
    • Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (NECTA)
    • ME
    • 357,412
    • 213
    • 8.
    • Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford (NECTA)
    • CT
    • 1,121,463
    • 230
    • 9.
    • Providence-Fall River-Warwick (NECTA)
    • RI-MA
    • 1,600,852
    • 243
    • 10.
    • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (NECTA)
    • CT
    • 926,545
    • 251

Leading Locations for 2013 Results

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