Economy and Jobs

New Bedford boasts a diverse economy that maximizes wages and sustainable employment for all, attracts and retains emerging professionals, rewards a strong work ethic, and is prepared for the challenges and opportunities brought by a changing climate.

An image of New Bedford's paved waterfront

Economy and Jobs

Stronger Economy for Tomorrow's Challenges

The Economy is a focus in our climate action and resilience plan because it's important to 


  • insulate businesses from the impacts of extreme weather. 
  • provide services in case of emergency. 
  • maintain a consistent bottom line.
  • improve people's ability to prepare and recover. 
  • use our resilience as a way to attract future business.


To learn more, read our Economy & Jobs Fact Sheet.

An image of New Bedford's many ships at port

Economic Value of the Port

#1 Port in the Nation!

The Port of New Bedford is the #1 fishing port in the nation based on the economic value of annual landings. The port generates over $11 billion in related economic activity for the region and over 40,000 jobs.

Economic Value of the Port

Valuable Commercial Shipping Hub

In addition to fishing, the Port of New Bedford is an important link in shipping goods and materials throughout the Northeast. Shipping by watercraft creates about 70% fewer GHGs than would happen if the same goods traveled by truck, which makes a big difference as over 244,000 tons of material passed through the port in 2017 alone! 

US Army Corps of Engineers - Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center

Employment & Income Opportunities

Working in New Bedford

Metrics related to employment and income opportunities are improving. In 2017, the percent of individuals under the poverty threshold dropped to 23.1%, down from a high of 24% in 2014. Average income rose by over $1,800 from 2016 to 2017, the biggest single year jump in the past decade.

While these strides are reasons to celebrate, more attention to improving the conditions that support strong growth are needed to ensure these trends continue.

There 46,157 in our local economy. 5,005 of these jobs are new since 2014. There were 1,399 jobs added in 2017
An image of a person working in a busy food truck

Job Training

Earning Potential

Earning potential is directly tied to educational attainment. In the United States as a whole, someone with less than a high school degree makes on average, $26,000. This jumps to over $38,000 with a high school degree and $48,000 with an associates degree. Ensuring that New Bedford has a qualified workforce is critical to achieving our economic goals. 

Job Training

Graduation Rates

While graduation rates for New Bedford schools have remained relatively flat over the past five years, some postive trends are underway.  The  percentage of dropouts has been falling each year with many more finishing the curriculum in some other way than graduation. Helping these individuals take the next step in their education will help ensure New Bedford has the workforce needed to attract and retain new businesses.

Job Training

Seize Economic Opportunties

Many resources exist for individuals hoping to join the wave of new opportunities that will come with developing new industries like offshore wind. Whether working directly in clean energy or the businesses that will grow up around them, several workforce initiatives are underway. For those with bigger ideas, community partners such as the New Bedford Economic Development Council are ready to help bring your vision to life.


Mass Clean Energy Center

Job Seeker Resources
Greater New Bedford Workforce Development Board

Job Seeker Resources
New Bedford Economic Development Council

Resources for Entrepreneurs
New Bedford Municipal Career Opportunities

Employment Resources
An image of historic buildings and a cobbled street in New Bedford