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Study: MA Human Service Industry grew nearly 50 percent between 2003 and 2011

The human service industry in Massachusetts not only grew by nearly 48% between 2003 and 2011 but the economic impact of those employed by the industry was felt far beyond the vulnerable populations it directly serves, according to a report released by the UMass Donahue Institute, the Providers’ Council and the UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center.

Since 2003, the human services industry has experienced a significant growth rate of 47.9 percent, outpacing the expected growth of 37.5 percent between 2004 and 2014. The industry now accounts for five percent of the Commonwealth’s nearly 3 million jobs, with 80.9 percent of those positions filled by women.

In 2011, the human services industry accounted for more than 145,000 jobs throughout Massachusetts and the $2.5 billion in local spending of disposable income by human services workers generated an estimated $899 million in additional economic activity. The $899 million represents money spent by human services workers for goods and services in their communities. Estimates suggest that these expenditures supported an additional 24,262 non-sector jobs in 2011.

Though the human services industry represented 5 percent of the Commonwealth’s total jobs in 2011, its payroll was only 2.1 percent of the total annual Massachusetts payroll of $165 billion. The comparatively low share of state payroll reflects the low wages paid to many workers in the Massachusetts human services industry as compared to other Massachusetts employers.

The report, titled “Beyond Social Value: The Economic Impact of the Human Services Sector” was released at a State House event on March 25, 2015 at 11 a.m. Senator Jennifer Flanagan and Representatives Kay Khan and Elizabeth Malia hosted the 90-minute briefing attended by legislators, stakeholders, and members of the press.

The report’s findings were covered in the Springfield Republican and the Worcester Business Journal.

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