Employment Sections

Where the Jobs Are — and Where They Will Be

Larry Martin says the numbers in the most recent report from the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development concerning employment by sector in Hampden County paint a fairly accurate picture of the local economy, and what’s likely to happen over the next several years.

The statistics, updated every two years — a new report is due out at the end of this year — show that, overall, employment is expected to increase roughly 8% between 2010 and 2020, with growth projected for several key sectors, said Martin, director of Business Services and special project manager for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. But they also show some declines that reflect changes within specific industries, and shifts in where and how products are manufactured (see accompanying chart).

In the former category are some of the county’s long-time stalwarts when it comes to employment, including healthcare, projected to increase nearly 17% by 2020, education (up 8%), finance and insurance (up 20%), and administrative and support services (up 24.6%).

Meanwhile, some sectors that had been in decline show signs of progress. These include the broad category of manufacturing, which is projected to increase roughly 12% (although some sub-categories within that sector are expected to see declines, such as paper manufacturing, which is projected to drop 40%), as well as construction, which is expected to increase more than 15%.

Martin attributes this to a surge in infrastructure work in the region, as well as continued new building within sectors such as higher education and individual institutions such as UMass Amherst, which is in the midst of a building boom.

On the other side of the ledger, several sectors are projected to see declines, in a reflection of regional, national, and even international trends. These include crop production (projected to fall 12.1%), government (down 12.2%), retail trade (down 4.5%), real estate (down 3.9%), and publishing industries (down 6.7%).

While Martin told BusinessWest that he considers the numbers fairly accurate, they do not reflect the planned construction of an $800 million in Springfield’s South End by MGM. If it is built as planned, the facility will certainly alter the projections for the category called amusement, gambling, and recreation industries (projected to see an 18% increase), and it could influence the future of a number of other industry groups as well, from transportation to retail to industry groups in the broad category of hospitality.

— George O’BrienIndustryProjectionsHampdenCounty

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