Governor Patrick – Show Us the 120,000 “Unfilled Jobs”

On Monday, Deval Patrick told the Boston Chamber of Commerce that Massachusetts has 120,000 unfilled, open, job positions that her residents are not qualified for.  Today Red Mass Group will be asking the administration to produce a list of those jobs.  

The State House News Service reported the following.

…which he[Patrick] said leaves 120,000 available jobs open because workers do not have the skills to fill them. “We have a skills gap in Massachusetts, not unlike a skills gap the whole nation is experiencing,” Patrick said. The governor said his plan is not a critique on the community colleges, but a way to “amp up” their ability to meet the needs of employers in the state. “The people who have been out of work, they are not going back to the job they used to have because the economy is changing,” Patrick said.

As usual the data, as compiled by Andrew Sum at Northeastern University for MassINC, tell a completely different story.  According to Sum Massachusetts ranks first in the nation for the percentage of the population that has an associates degree or higher with 54.9% off the workforce.  The Commonwealth also ranks first in the percentage of our workforce with Bachelors degree or higher with 45.8% of the workforce.  

We also ranked all 50 states in terms of their payroll employment and household employment growth rates from 2000-2010. None of the 10 states with the largest share of workers with an associate’s or higher degree made the top 10 list when ranked on payroll employment growth (Table 3-8). Only two of these states with the largest share of college-educated workers made the top 20 in payroll job growth rates. Two of them actually fell into the bottom 10 states ranked by payroll employment growth. The best-educated states were more likely to fall in the bottom 10 on payroll employment growth than in the top 10, implying a very weak or no statistical relationship between educational attainment and payroll job growth. (page 68-69)

In Massachusetts and the nation education attainment has very little correlation to job opportunity, according to Sum.  There is also a tremendous problem with mal-employment in Massachusetts, where significant amounts of people are employed in jobs that do not require their degree.

To identify the magnitude of the mal-employment problem in Massachusetts in 2010, we estimated the number of employed college graduates by degree level who were working in jobs outside of the college labor market during that year. Our findings are displayed in Table 5-14. There were nearly 92,000 mal-employed associate’s degree holders, 228,000 mal-employed bachelor’s degree holders, and slightly over 55,000 master’s and higher degree holders working in jobs outside of the college labor market. The combined total of mal-employed college graduates was just under 375,000. (page 117)

There are according to Patrick 120,000 jobs going unfilled.  According to Andrew Sum at Northeastern there are 375,000 people working at jobs they are overqualified for that could fill them.  

Perhaps the Patrick Administration, if those 120,000 jobs truly exist, should be reaching out to those 375,000 people to get them employed in those 120,000 jobs.  

Governor Patrick, we’re here to help.  In an effort to help you publicize the 120,000 jobs, Red Mass Group is filing a public records request with the Executive Offices of Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development this morning.  We’re looking for a listing of the 120,000 jobs so that we can publish them.  

Robert Eno


Shrewsbury, MA XXXXXX


March 5, 2012

Gregory Bialecki


Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The State House

Boston, Massachusetts 02108

Joanne F. Goldstein


Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

The State House

Boston, Massachusetts 02108


Re: Massachusetts Public Records Request

Dear Secretary Bialecki and Secretary Goldstein:

This is a request under the Massachusetts Public Records Law (M. G. L. Chapter 66, Section 10).

I am requesting that I be provided a copy of the following documents:

* A full listing of the 120,000 open jobs referenced by Governor Deval Patrick in a speech regarding Community Colleges on 3/20/2012.

* Any communications electronic or otherwise between yourself or your employees and employers in the Commonwealth regarding their inability to find “qualified employees”.

I recognize that you may charge reasonable costs for photocopies, computer disks, or personnel time to comply with this request. If you expect charges to exceed $250, please contact me regarding this request.

As you are aware, I must be provided with this information within 10 days. If you cannot comply with my request, please provide an explanation in writing.


Robert Eno

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