A Glimpse into the State of Our Economy in Massachusetts

Racepoint Global

Written by:  Ani Jigarjian – VP, Global Marketing & Business Development

I had the pleasure of attending the Boston Business Journal’s Economic Outlook event on Tuesday, January 16. As a marketing and business development professional, it was refreshing to attend something a bit different than what I’m used to.

The panel discussion was moderated by Doug Banks of the Boston Business Journal.

Panelists included:

The conversation covered many topics, and these topics are so buried by multiple layers, that we barely scratched the surface. A few of the topics discussed were talent in Boston, growing our economy, and state initiatives.

Talent in Boston

There was interesting dialogue around talent and the workforce in Boston. I think everyone agreed that there is a lot of talent in and coming to Boston, and jobs are a priority in 2018. John Barros mentioned one of the City of Boston’s missions is to make Boston’s promise of a talent mecca, a reality. However, discussions also need to take place around the inequality gap when it comes to income/wealth, as it continues to widen due to a lack of access to education and training. One idea that John Barros mentioned was the idea of placing intermediaries in the marketplace for younger generations in this economy. The role of the intermediaries would be to educate and guide people so they know what to look for when searching for a job.

Growing our Economy

The performance of the regional economy is strong; however, the sustainability of expansion is on pause. What do we need to do in order to move forward and continue to grow?

  • We must invest in our public education system and focus on rebuilding it since it’s the best path to provide opportunities for future generations (preK-12).
  • The workforce: Training and education have to be taken seriously, as there’s a gap between how students come out of school and what companies need in the workforce. How do we work with companies like GE or Wayfair to implement proper education and training?
  • With more tax reform, we’ll see more money coming in from international investors. So, how do we marry money with talent? We certainly can’t grow our economy without talent.
  • Mobility in and out of the city is critical for the present and future of Boston; we need to invest in a better transportation system.
  • We need to have a conversation about what we need and how we pay for it – including issues such as global warming and how that is going to impact the city.
  • We need a better asset management system.

State Initiatives

The state of Massachusetts has many initiatives; here are a few that were discussed which captured my attention:

  • The state is looking to increase electric car ownership to 300,000 by 2025 – as of right now, we are nowhere near that goal. This type of movement will change the transportation infrastructure. Expect to see more charging stations and education around ownership (easier to maintain, better for the climate, asthma, etc.).
  • Natural gas: We need it and more of it. When the temperature dipped down to below zero in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago, we stepped back a century and used – you guessed it – coal and oil! And BTW, we had the highest prices in the world so don’t be surprised when you see an increase in your bill!
  • The state is aiming for 80% emission reduction by 2050 (Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act).

As you can see, this is an extremely high-level view of the economy. There are all kinds of moving parts. It’s a busy time in Massachusetts, and I was fortunate to get to know four leaders who are paving the way with a careful eye on innovation and protection, for the people of Massachusetts.