Massachusetts Miracle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Massachusetts Miracle was a period of economic growth in Massachusetts during most of the 1980s. Before then, the state had been hit hard by deindustrialization and resulting unemployment. During the Miracle, the unemployment rate fell from more than 12% in 1975 to less than 3%, which was accompanied by tax reductions and a drastic increase in personal income.[1]


Massachusetts's industrial economy began to decline during the early 20th century, with the departure of several manufacturing companies. By the 1920s, competition from the South and Midwest, followed by the Great Depression, led to the collapse of the three main industries in Massachusetts: textiles, shoemaking, and precision mechanics.[2] This industrial decline would continue throughout the century; between 1950 and 1979, the number of Massachusetts residents involved in textile manufacturing declined from 264,000 to 63,000.[3] The 1969 closure of the Springfield Armory spurred an exodus of high-paying jobs from western Massachusetts.[4]

Initial growth[edit]

The growth was heavily centered in financial services and high-tech industry (often driven by technology out of Harvard University and MIT),[5] and within Boston and in its suburbs along Route 128. The expansion of the high tech industry along Route 128 has led to the name of the road being used as a nickname for the regional tech economy, much like Silicon Valley.[6][7][8]

Notable companies associated with the Miracle include Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General, Wang Laboratories, Prime Computer, Lotus Development Corporation and Apollo Computer.[7]

Michael Dukakis was Governor of Massachusetts during most of this time and attempted to take credit for the "Miracle" during his campaign for United States President in 1988.[9]

Early 1990s recession[edit]

In the early 1990s, Massachusetts, like most of the Northeast, was much more severely affected by the early 1990s recession than the country as a whole, with the unemployment rate nearly reaching 9% by the summer of 1992. However, Massachusetts recovered from the recession faster than the rest of the Northeast, helped by the nationwide tech boom of the 1990s, and by the end of the decade the unemployment rate once again fell below 3%.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Butterfield, Fox (May 1, 1988). "What you see is what you get". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  2. ^ Brown, Richard D; Tager, Jack (2000). Massachusetts: A Concise History. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-55849-248-6.
  3. ^ Brown & Tager 2000, p. 276.
  4. ^ "Job Loss, Shrinking Revenues, and Grinding Decline in Springfield, Massachusetts: Is A Finance Control Board the Answer?" (PDF). University of Massachusetts Lowell. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "Technically, It's Still Route 128",
  6. ^ "Silicon Valley and Route 128: The Camelots of Economic Development". Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development. 10. C2ER. May 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Judge, Paul (August 13, 1997). "Boston's Route 128: Complementing Silicon Valley". Business Week. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  8. ^ "Route 128: Birthplace of the Digital Age" Archived 2013-06-28 at, July 6, 2010, Archived 2013-05-09 at
  9. ^ Lentz, Philip (August 23, 1988). "Dukakis Had Help With `Massachusetts Miracle`". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 07, 2014.