A new report released today by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce provides an in-depth look at the twenty-seven communities that comprise North Central Massachusetts.  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. The Chamber commissioned the Economic Profile report to support economic development efforts and serve as a resource for local businesses to make evidence based decisions.


“Our top priority is to advance the economy of North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “This research validates what we already know – that North Central Massachusetts is a great place to live, work, visit and grow a business.  We envision using the report to showcase the region, answer queries and support ongoing economic development efforts.”


“We are very excited to have worked with the Chamber on this report, and accompanying online data tool, highlighting the competitive advantages and issues facing North Central Massachusetts.  It provides extensive benchmarking indicators comparing the region to other places around the state” said Mark Melnik, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the UMass Donahue Institute. “We hope this report will be a useful resource to help support economic development in the region and can serve as a model for other regions around the state.”


Some key highlights of the Economic Profile research include:


  • Proximity to Boston, Worcester and Southern New Hampshire benefits North Central businesses in terms of labor and market access. Commercial leasing rates that are a fraction of Boston’s and significantly lower than those found in the MetroWest area also boost the appeal of North Central Massachusetts.


  • The availability of large parcels of land with high capacity infrastructure in combination with proximity to highways, rail lines and airports also constitutes an advantage for the region. Large parcels with access to both transportation and infrastructure are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive in and around the fast-growing Boston-Cambridge area.


  • North Central Massachusetts has a diverse economy with notable strengths in healthcare and manufacturing (led by plastics products, pharmaceuticals, and electronics). Manufacturing is nearly twice as concentrated in North Central Massachusetts compared to national averages. Since 2010, most major sectors in the region have seen job growth.


  • Agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing have seen growth in North Central Massachusetts and now employ about 3,500 people. Agriculture is more concentrated in the region than the national average.


  • Thirty-two percent of the residents in North Central Massachusetts have a bachelor’s degree or higher and fully 61 percent of adults have some level of college or higher, indicating that the region possesses a varied and skilled workforce.


  • On standardized tests, students in North Central Massachusetts score higher than the state in science and English. SAT scores are on par or slightly higher than the state while the region’s dropout rate is lower.


  • Quality homes in good school districts are a draw for North Central Massachusetts. The average home values in affluent towns like Groton, Harvard, and Princeton are well below those in comparable MetroWest towns like Natick and Sudbury.


A full copy of the Economic Profile study can be found here.


The Economic and Public Policy Research (EPPR) group at the UMass Donahue Institute is a leading provider of applied research, helping clients make more informed decisions about strategic economic and public policy issues. EPPR produces in-depth economic impact and industry studies that help clients build credibility, gain visibility, educate constituents, plan economic development initiatives, and prioritize investments.  For more information on the group, please visit


This 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.  For more information on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate organizations, please visit or contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600.