The Boston metro economy is among the largest in the nation and contains 10 Fortune 500 companies, including Biogen Idec, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Staples, and State Street Corporation. The metro’s GMP (Gross Municipal Product) grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent last year, while retail sales recorded 7.2 percent annual growth and unemployment hovered near 6 percent.
Strengths of the local economy include a highly educated labor force; status as a growing region and gateway city for international business; inflow of new companies moving to the area; growing presence in biotechnologies, high-tech, financial services, and an expanding hospitality base.
Medicine and technology are critical to the metro's economy. The National Institute of Health’s funding provides incentives for biotech and medical research, which support growth throughout the region. Pharmaceutical companies also deliver essential research and development for the biotech industry. Angel investors and venture capital make funding available for further expansion and innovation in biotechnologies.
Major colleges and universities provide employment, while attracting top companies to the area. The large number of institutions of higher learning collectively supports the growth of the local economy, by providing an influx of students and visitors to the area for university related events.
Expanding over seven counties and two states, the Boston metro includes over 150 incorporated towns and cities with a total population of 4.6 million citizens. Over the next five years, population of the metro is expected to increase by 1.6 percent. The city of Boston hosts the largest population in the metro at 632,129 residents.