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Beyond Social Value: The Economic Impact of the Human Services Sector

Author: University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, UMass Darmouth, Providers' Council

Publication Date: Mar. 25, 2015

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BOSTON – Jobs in the Massachusetts human services sector grew by nearly 48 percent between 2003 and 2011 and the total economic impact of the disposable income earned by the sector’s 145,000-person workforce was $3.4 billion in 2011, according to a new Providers' Council report.

The Providers’ Council, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and UMass Dartmouth released Beyond Social Value: The Economic Impact of the Human Services Sector. While the social benefits of the sector that provides critical care to one in ten Massachusetts residents are well known, the sector’s significant economic impact on the Commonwealth had not been quantified until this report.

Other details include:

  • The sector’s 145,000 jobs represent 5 percent of Massachusetts’ nearly 3 million jobs.
  • Sector jobs expected to increase by 37.5 percent between 2004 and 2014 actually increased by 47.9 percent between 2003 and 2011.
  • More than 145,000 human services workers earned nearly $3.4 billion with $2.5 billion of that being considered disposable income.
  • The $2.5 billion in local spending of disposable income by workers generated an estimated $899 million in additional economic activity for a total impact of $3.4 billion.
  • The $899 million represents money spent by human services workers for goods and services; estimates suggest these expenditures supported an additional 24,262 non-sector jobs in 2011.
  • The percentage of human services sector workers earning below 150 percent of the federal poverty level is nearly twice as high as the percent of healthcare workers and higher than all other industries.
  • Human services as a percentage of the state budget dropped from 11.8 percent in FY ’03 to 9.8 percent in FY ’14.
  • Exceeding all other industries, 6.5 percent of human services workers have a disability.

For more information, contact Bill Yelenak.