January 24, 2020

Chamber of Commerce releases economic report - Athol Daily News

A report released Monday by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce offers an in-depth perspective on the north-central region.

The Regional Economic Profile was compiled by a research team at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and combines detailed economic, labor market and socioeconomic data, as well as analysis on the economic conditions within the region, according to a statement. The Chamber commissioned the report to support economic development efforts and serve as a resource for local businesses to make evidence-based decisions.

Some key highlights of the research include: Proximity to Boston, Worcester and Southern New Hampshire, which benefits businesses in terms of labor and market access. Further, commercial leasing rates are a fraction of Boston’s and significantly lower than those found in the MetroWest area, according to a statement.

The availability of large parcels of land in close proximity to major highways, rail lines and airports is also an advantage.

The north-central region, comprised of 27 towns and adjacent to Templeton, has a diverse economy with notable strengths in healthcare and manufacturing, according to the report. Manufacturing is nearly twice as concentrated in the region as compared to national averages. Most major sectors have seen growth since 2010.

Agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing have also seen growth over the last decade and now employ about 3,500 people.

Educationally, the region has a skilled workforce. Thirty-two percent of the residents in North Central Massachusetts have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 61 percent of adults have some level of college or higher. Students score higher in standardized tests on average than the state average in science and English. SAT scores are on par or slightly higher, while the region’s dropout rate is lower.

Quality homes in good school districts are a draw for North Central Massachusetts, the report notes.

The research is part of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s continuing efforts to help promote the region and advance the economy of North Central Massachusetts, according to a statement. For more information, visit northcentralmass.com, where a full copy of the study can be found.


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