The big drivers of the economy in and around Boston are education, health care and life sciences (which represents at least one in six jobs in Boston), finance, and technology (both computer/software technology as well as biotechnology). The education industry in the Boston area has a major impact on the region's economy. Not only are educational institutions major employers, but they also attract high-technology industries to the region and act as incubators for many of the regions new and up-and-coming businesses.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Boston receives the highest amount of annual funding from the NIH of all cities in the United States. According to data presented by the Boston Indicators Project, the Boston area, and Massachusetts as a whole, also receive a tremendous amount of federal R&D funding. Federal spending in academic/nonprofit research institutions was over four and a half billion dollars in 2002. This ranked Massachusetts second only to California in absolute federal spending.
Metropolitan Boston has a highly educated work force. It ranks in the top 16% nationally for college educated adults when compared to similar size cities across the United States. Higher education attainment rates (people holding a bachelors degree or higher) in Boston are in excess of 35%, according 2000 data from the US Department of Commerce. This ranks Boston 5th among large US cities for bachelor’s degree holders. The attainment rate is even higher in the region surrounding Boston with higher education attainment rates as high as 40%.
Boston is also the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the regional headquarters for many federal agencies making government another large industry in and around Boston. The Port of Boston is also one of the oldest industrial and fishing ports in North America and is a major east coast seaport.
Because of its rich colonial and American Revolution history, eastern Massachusetts and the Boston are are also major tourist destinations. Boston is home to four major convention centers, the Hynes Convention Center, the Bayside Expo Center, the World Trade Center Boston, and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Some of the major business/education organizations in and around Boston include:
- The Boston Consortium for Higher Education
- The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC)
- The Massachusetts High Technology Council
- The Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC)
- The Mass Technology Leadership Council who award the coveted Mass Technology Leadership Awards
- The New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE)
Some major employers and companies of note in the Boston Area include:
- The Boston region's 74 colleges and universities servicing a total student enrollment of more than 265,000
- The Boston region's major hospitals including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Lahey Clinic, The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, the New England Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, and more
- A substantial number of biotechnology companies including companies such as Alkermes, Biogen IDEC, Genzyme, Novartis, Transkaryotic Therapies, and Wyeth
- Boston Scientific Corporation
- Cambridge Technology Partners
- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts (state government)
- EMC Corporation
- Fidelity Investments
- Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
- Gillette, now part of Procter & Gamble
- Iron Mountain Incorporated
- Raytheon Corporation
- Staples, Inc.
- Teradyne, Inc.
- TJX Companies, Inc.
The Boston Business Journal is an excellent publication to help individuals keep their fingers on the pulse of business in the Boston area.