An introduction to the Book of Lists 2021
If you closely follow the subtle changes in content over the decades, the Worcester Business Journal produces its annual book of lists, you will see the changing economy of central Massachusetts.
The snapshot of the few dozen lists that each list book provides each year contains the companies and industries that drive economic production and capture the attention of the public at any given time. The last few years have seen the addition of industries such as craft breweries and marijuana businesses, the expansion of the list of biomedical companies, and the consolidation of players in the health field.
Aside from notable moves up and down the lists, such as Tree House Brewing Co. in Charlton becoming the largest brewer in central Massachusetts, this year’s 43 lists are highlighted by three new additions: local restaurants, Massachusetts Department of Transportation projects and temporary staff. companies. Each of these groups has had their own journey through 2021, as the entire region and the world are still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, with restaurants having to close first and then strive to reopen as their numbers are leaving; recruitment agencies helping companies find workers in a difficult labor market; and building public transport, proving once again that it can be resilient in a tough economy.
But last year’s economic history is more than those three, far from it in fact. Having three brand new lists out of 43 is a typical level of rotation in the Book of Lists, as the economic profile of the region is more marked by subtle changes than by global change. Saving $ 51 billion isn’t just about a penny. Yet this small number of new listings belies just how tumultuous the past 17 months have been. Literally, every aspect of every list has been impacted in one way or another by the coronavirus pandemic. Tourist attractions still use the 2019 numbers to highlight their position in the region. Hotels are off to a good start in 2021, but they still have a lot of ground to catch up. The list of colleges and universities has one less entry this year, with Becker College in Worcester being phased out.
As always, the only constant is change. The coronavirus pandemic has taken this truth to a whole new level, as the past year has been marked by uproar and adaptation. As central Massachusetts and the world seem poised to enter a post-pandemic economy, we still need to look ahead, prepare for what the changes may bring.
-Brad Kane, editor
Book of Lists 2021
Digital Edition “