Report: Defense Spending In Mass. Rises Sharply

The economic recovery in Massachusetts may be lagging, but don’t blame the defense industry.

A new report finds that U.S. Department of Defense contracts amounted to more than $15 billion last year. That’s almost six times as much as all other federal contract spending in the state. Defense dollars have tripled in Massachusetts since 2001.

"Frankly, we were surprised at the magnitude of the growth," said Rick Lord, president of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which commissioned the report from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.

The sector employs some 115,000 workers in the state. Not only has that number almost doubled over the past decade, those jobs are all over the state.

"You don’t walk down the streets of Massachusetts and see a lot of uniforms," said Lynn Griesemer, the Donahue Institute's executive director. "And I think to many people that to them means, 'Oh, we must not be in this business.' "

The report says federal spending cuts could hurt the industry here, and that the state should work to protect it. Lord says the industry is not threatened by Rep. Barney Frank. The Newton Democrat has been calling for big cuts to federal defense spending.

This program aired on December 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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