Baker speaks about economy at Outlook 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s an event that attracts hundreds of business leaders to Springfield every year. The Springfield Regional Chamber Outlook event.

Business is booming in Massachusetts.

That’s the message that dozens of business leaders echoed at this year’s Springfield Regional Chamber event in Springfield .

“Employment is going up, investment is going up, it’s a very good time to be in business in the Pioneer Valley,” said Scott Foster, of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas.

The unemployment rate has stayed the same over the past year, but investments have continued to grow, and so have wages–a positive sign for businesses, and employees.

Many of the business leaders we spoke to said business is the best it has been in years in western Massachusetts, but there are some areas that need improvement, including a skills gap. This is something Governor Charlie Baker said his administration is working on.

“The big thing has been this whole commitment to this skills capital grant program, which has literally put probably $50 million dollars into our skills building organizations, our community colleges, our vocational schools.”

Governor Baker delivered the keynote address.

He told 22News his administration will continue to work on closing the skills gap, something that some business owners have already seen improve.

“The administration’s effort to look at regulations and streamline regulations have been very helpful, and I also think that workforce development is such a critical priority for our state as business continues to grow,” United Personnel President Tricia Canavan said.

And with the grand opening of MGM Springfield this year, the region’s unemployment rate is expected to continue to improve.