Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2017


The Massachusetts Maritime Economy is comprised of 5,555 establishments that employ 90,482 workers, pay $3.4 billion in total wages, and account for $6.4 billion in gross state product. These businesses are a significant economic driver in Massachusetts, representing 2.6 percent of the Commonwealth’s direct employment and 1.3 percent of its direct gross state product.

  • 5,555 establishments
  • 90,482 employees
  • $3.4 billion total wages
  • $6.4 billion gross state product
Employment in the industry compares favorably with other major sectors of the state’s economy, including the Information and Manufacturing sectors. Growth in the Massachusetts Maritime Economy Was More Robust Than the Statewide Industry Total Growth in Massachusetts’ Maritime Economy was generally more robust than the state as a whole from 2005 to 2015; employment grew by 18.2 percent from 2005 to 2015, compared to 8.4 percent for the statewide industry total. Gross State Product (48.0% vs. 32.1%) and Real Gross State Product (36.7% vs. 11.4%) also increased significantly more than the state total, although the number of establishments grew at a slower pace. The Maritime Economy Grew Through the Great Recession The Massachusetts Maritime Economy exhibited fairly consistent employment and real GSP growth throughout the economic cycle. While the Maritime Economy experienced a slight downturn in employment and real GSP in 2009, both indicators returned to an upward trajectory just a year later and this trend continued through 2014 and 2015. The Massachusetts Maritime Economy Is a Significant Economic Driver The Massachusetts Maritime Economy generated a total statewide economic impact of $17.336 billion in output (sales), 135,924 jobs, and $6.839 billion in labor income in 2015. Or put another way, with $9.828 billion in output, 90,482 workers, and $3.924 billion in labor income (direct impacts), maritime related businesses supported an additional $7.508 billion in output, 45,442 jobs, and $2.915 billion in labor income in the Massachusetts economy (indirect and induced impacts).

Tourism & Recreation is the Largest Maritime Economy Sector

There are six major sectors in the Massachusetts Maritime Economy:

  • Living Resources
  • Marine Construction
  • Offshore Minerals
  • Ship & Boat Building & Repair
  • Tourism & Recreation (Coastal)
  • Transportation

Tourism & Recreation is by far the largest sector in terms of employment, although it accounts for a smaller share of total wages and gross state product. Conversely, the Marine Transportation sector, which includes Marine Technology, accounts for only 13 percent of employment, yet 35 percent of total wages and 35 percent of GSP, is primarily due to the high value of the products and services the sector provides. The Living Resources sector accounts for six percent of Maritime Economy employment. Employment in the sector has been declining since 2009, particularly in the fishing industry. Ship & Boat Building & Repair accounts for only small portions of employment and GSP due to the almost total absence of major ship and boat builders in the Commonwealth.

(One portion of executive summary--much more in total summary, see PDF)


A report prepared for the Seaport Economic Council, under the direction of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, with additional funding and support from Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. The report was created by the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, with the Center for the Blue Economy as a contributor. As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to economic growth in the maritime economic sector, Seaport Economic Council works with Massachusetts’ 78 coastal communities to provide statewide coordination of all coastal community planning and investment activities, with the aim to stimulate economic development and create jobs in the maritime economy sector as well as to protect coastal assets that are vital to achieving these aims.