Week 2: The American Dream (might) have a pulse

In Search of (4)

If there’s any reason to be optimistic about the future of the American Dream in the Commonwealth, it’s the pace of job creation in the 2010s. MassINC’s 2011 report framed the 2000s as the “lost decade,” in large part because it was the first time on record that the Bay State ended a decade with fewer payroll jobs. Only 7 states turned in a more disappointing performance than our -4 percent growth rate between 2000 and 2009.

This decade is off to a very different start. Between January 2010 and November 2015, the Massachusetts economy created 400,000 payroll jobs. The next few blogs will get into the who, what, how, where, why, when, but for now let’s just stick with a look at job growth in the aggregate.


To put payroll employment growth since 2010 into perspective, these 400,000 new jobs are 50 percent more than the 260,000 jobs the state created in the 1990s, and approaching the 460,000 jobs birthed during Massachusetts’s entire 1980 “miracle” decade. In November 2015, we had roughly 200,000 more jobs than at our previous peak in 2001, just prior to the dot-com bust.

Massachusetts’s job creation performance in the 2010s to date ranks a very respectable 20th among states, which bests our 27th place showing in the 1980s. If we continue at our current pace (and that’s a very strong if), we would end the 2010s with 23 percent more jobs.


For the first time since the 1970s, Massachusetts created more jobs than our five New England neighbors. The list of states with faster job growth since 2010 outside of New England is interesting. California seems to be powering back from a very difficult stretch. Texas continues to plow ahead with strong job creation. Colorado, Florida, and Washington State also fall in the top 10. We’re neck and neck with New York. For the first time, we’ve left Virginia in our wake.


It’s important to note that Massachusetts really found its footing in 2015. From 2010 through 2014, we basically kept pace with the nation but did not really exceed US average growth rates. During the last year through November, Massachusetts created jobs 75 percent faster than the US (3.7 percent vs. 2.1 percent).


Meet The Author

Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

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