Many of the details outlined and conclusions drawn by the company commissioned by the Baker administration to predict future employment trends in the state should be obvious to just about anyone.
Some statements, like the critical need for more housing, predate the pandemic, while others, including the urban exodus of businesses and permanent remote workplaces, were influenced by this coronavirus episode.
It is no coincidence, then, that investments in housing, public transport and skills training have become the top priorities for the Commonwealth as it recovers from the effects of COVID-19, according to the report on the future of recently published work.
“Changing ways of working may shift what we see as the ‘center of gravity’ here in Massachusetts away from the urban core and out into the rest of the state,” Governor Baker said at a conference. press Tuesday morning at Tufts Launchpad’s. Location in Boston for BioLabs, recipient of a grant from the Workforce Training Fund program.
The report also estimates that Massachusetts will need to produce 125,000 to 200,000 homes by 2030, a $ 1 billion investment that matches the governor’s assessment, with a focus on home ownership assistance. ownership among communities of color.
Baker also announced $ 240 million in funding for workforce training programs.
The report predicts that up to 400,000 people may need to change occupations – especially those employed in office administration and the hospitality industry – over the next decade, as some jobs will be phased out due to changing employment needs.
This means that up to 10% of the workforce may have to find new jobs over the next decade in a changing economy.
Recognizing the main thrust of the report, the governor last week tabled plans to spend $ 2.9 billion in federal relief funds, with support provided to transportation and housing initiatives, as well as development of the workforce and infrastructure investments.
This visioning effort, put together with the help of consulting firm McKinsey & Company, divides Massachusetts into seven regions, each with its own set of post-pandemic challenges: Boston / Cambridge; Greater Boston Urban Residential, which includes cities like Revere and Chelsea; gateway towns, including Fitchburg, Lowell and Worcester; Suburbs of Greater Boston, including towns and villages in the 20 mile ring around Boston; Suburbs – Non-Boston, including towns and villages outside the 20 mile ring; Rural (tourism-based economies), including the towns of the Berkshires, Cape Cod and Cape Ann; and rural, including most other parts of the state.
The report sees Greater Boston Urban Residential as the region that will be most affected by these changes, “especially as residents work in industries more vulnerable to disruption (hospitality, retail, food services),” the report said. .
Based on surveys of hundreds of businesses and residents in April, McKinsey found that more than a third of employers plan to reduce their real estate footprint over the next two years.
As a result, office demand could drop by up to 20% and commuter train use could drop 15 to 50% from pre-pandemic levels, according to the report.
However, due to the three-month lag since this survey was conducted, some of the dire commercial real estate assumptions in the report may turn out to be too pessimistic.
For example, it doesn’t take into account the recent surge in business activity, including announcements by e-commerce giants Amazon and Facebook to expand their physical presence locally, or the global surge in interest in offices.
However, the report does highlight likely fundamental changes in the way companies will conduct their business, where their employees will work, and which industries will thrive or fail in the state’s future economy.