Massachusetts labor shortage driven by aging population, people leaving the state, report says

Jobs are there in Massachusetts, but nobody seems to want them, says a new report that shows there are twice as many job openings as unemployed in the state.

The report, released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, outlines a bleak economic outlook for the state, which faces a shrinking workforce driven by an aging population, declining birth rates and people opting in, the fourth-highest rate in the US move to another place, face is land.

“Systemic shifts in the economy since the pandemic, affecting all sectors, coupled with troubling demographic trends, are causing the state’s talent pipeline to shrink,” said MTF President Eileen McAnneny.

“Policymakers must work proactively to reverse this trend by making Massachusetts a more affordable and competitive place to ensure future Commonwealth economic growth.”

In September, Massachusetts had 289,000 job openings and 129,000 unemployed, suggesting a labor shortage of 160,000.

Massachusetts has lost 900,000 residents to other states since 1981, a trend that rose to 46,000 in 2021 “as people took advantage of remote work or other states’ labor shortages to find a better quality of life,” the report said.

The number of working-age residents in the Bay State between the ages of 20 and 64 has declined by 50,000 since 2018, when that population peaked at 4.18 million, and is projected to fall by another 120,000 by 2030, the report said.

While Massachusetts residents are fleeing, demographics suggest they are not leaving New England as the combined population of the region’s five other states has grown by 40,000.

Population aging and low birth rates continue to erode the state’s workforce, the report said.

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