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Report: Boston Manufacturing Jobs Down, But Workers Well-Paid

This article is more than 11 years old.

A new report has some mixed news for the manufacturing sector in the Boston area.

The Brookings Institution (PDF) finds that area manufacturing workers are well-paid, but the sector has lost more than a third of its jobs over the past 10 years.

The average annual income for Boston-area manufacturing workers is more than $82,000 — good for sixth-highest in the country — according to Brookings.

In fields such as aerospace, electronics and pharmaceuticals, workers make more than $110,000 a year on average. These "very high-tech manufacturing" jobs account for 40 percent of the manufacturing positions in the Boston area.

"Manufacturing remains important in the Boston area," Howard Wial, a Brookings economist, told our Newscast unit. "It's not as important as it was 30 years ago, but what you have is a niche specialization in computers and electronics manufacturing."

The sector, however, shrank by about 94,000 jobs over the last decade.

But the Boston area still has the eighth-highest number of manufacturing jobs in the country, Brookings finds, and Wial says other metros across the nation have seen similar declines in total manufacturing positions.

"It seemed to be almost a truism for a long time that manufacturing was leaving the Northeast and Midwest and going to the South and the West, but for the last dozen or so years, that doesn't seem to be true," he added.

This program aired on May 9, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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