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Looking at What MATTERS in Our Innovation Economy & Workforce

March 2, 2022

Behind every top technology state is a climate that fosters growth. With the relaunch of our analytics tool, the Massachusetts Technology, Talent, and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS), last week, we are excited to share how our dashboards tell a compelling story about our innovation climate—and illustrate where Massachusetts stacks up among other states.

The Massachusetts High Tech Council’s mission has always been simple: to make Massachusetts the best place in which to live, work, and grow technology businesses. By many reports, Massachusetts is doing well on those fronts. Rankings such as CNBC’s and the Milken Institute’s list Massachusetts as one of the leading states for innovation and technology. Our technology industry job concentration ranks No. 1 in the nation, which is 1.34x the U.S. average, according to data aggregated by Emsi, a labor market analytics group. From 2015 to 2020, the technology industry grew by 15% and, according to Emsi modeling, is projected to grow 9% between 2020 and 2025.

To continue our upward trajectory, understanding what factors have contributed to our own growth is vital. Our new version of MATTERS is an invaluable resource to assess those factors, evaluate where we are succeeding, and highlight key areas for improvement.


What is unique about the Massachusetts technology industry—and innovation economy, more broadly—to harbor this impressive growth?

The 50-State Competitiveness Dashboard details relevant factors, collating hundreds of statistics from public datasets and proprietary sources into composite indices. These indices capture key dimensions of what makes a state’s economy and business conditions competitive, including tax environment, talent and workforce, and innovation climate. Built on diverse sourcing, the indices draw from traditional measures and trusted government sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as dynamic, integrated datasets from Emsi and other sources. The index rankings are weighted based on input from the Council’s diverse cross-sector membership. The central goal of this dashboard is comparison: how does Massachusetts compare to other states?

As one illustration, Massachusetts ranks both No. 1 in percentage of the workforce with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher (45.1%) and No. 5 in percentage of the workforce employed in high technology establishments (5.1%). Emsi data also shows that we rank 10th in terms of talent retention based on measurement of where Massachusetts-educated workers relocate. These, and many other data points, confirm that the Commonwealth is a leader in talent and workforce.

As our Cost of Doing Business index shows, however, we’re in the top five most expensive states on every measure, whether it is wages, healthcare premiums, energy expenses, or unemployment insurance costs. These two examples demonstrate some of the valuable takeaways about Massachusetts’ competitiveness that we hope MATTERS users draw from our dashboards to inform current policy discussions.

Our Technology Workforce Dashboard is also a useful tool for policy purposes, and one that enables a deeper dive into how Massachusetts is a hotspot for technology talent.

Take the following statistic: In 2021, there were just under 53,000 average monthly technology job postings in Massachusetts and just over 6,100 monthly technology hires on average. The Workforce Dashboard is loaded with figures like these, driving home the need to strengthen our STEM education pipeline and direct more residents to technology occupations. Equally important is building towards a future in which there is a representative gender mix in technology occupations—something our Workforce Dashboard will help inform with a breakdown of demographic data by technology occupations.

To continue the success of our innovation economy, driven by strong technology industries, we must better understand Massachusetts’ place nationwide through the lens of economic competitiveness. Our new dashboards are valuable tools to create digestible takeaways on what MATTERS in that policy conversation.