Report title: Navigating the Global Economy: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Massachusetts Maritime Economy

Authors: David R. Borges, Michael Goodman, Elise Korejwa,  Kasey Lima-Pires, Michael P. McCarthy,  Holly Stickles, Joy Smith

Report date: April 2017

Sponsor: The Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council

Issue areas: marine economy, economic impact, economic development, fisheries, maritime trade, tourism and recreation, offshore wind

Summary & key findings: This comprehensive analysis finds that in 2015, the Massachusetts Maritime Economy supported $17.3 billion in economic output, 135,924 jobs, and $6.8 billion in wages. The Maritime Economy’s six sectors (Living Resources, Marine Construction, Offshore Minerals, Ship & Boat Building & Repair, Coastal Tourism & Recreation, and Marine Transportation & Technology) directly employed 90,482 people in the Commonwealth, which compares favorably with other major sectors in the state, such as Information (93,961 employees) and Computer & Electronics Manufacturing (56,088 employees).

The size and diversity of the Massachusetts Maritime Economy contribute to its resiliency. From 2005 to 2015, economic growth in Massachusetts’ Maritime Economy was significantly more robust than the state as a whole—37 percent as compared to 11 percent. Furthermore, the Massachusetts Maritime Economy exhibited consistent employment and sales growth, even as the broader economy was in decline during the Great Recession.

Even though the analysis documents significant growth in the Maritime Economy, maritime businesses in Massachusetts are not without their concerns. A survey of 735 of these businesses reveals a number of concerns related to business costs, regulations, and the availability of skilled workers. Business leaders also identified policies that preserve and protect ocean resources as being very critical to their business prospects.

The reports finds that marine renewable energy in the form of offshore wind (OSW), tidal, and wave energy hold great promise as a growth driver for the Maritime Economy since Massachusetts is poised to take the lead in these nascent industries. Massachusetts has the largest OSW potential of any state in the contiguous U.S, which if harnessed could supply Massachusetts’ current energy needs many times over.

The results make it clear that the Massachusetts Maritime Economy is strong and resilient and is positioned to remain an economic force for decades to come.

Report link:  Report & Technical Appendices