Massachusetts has a long and varied history when it comes to its economy. From its early colonial days, when agriculture was the main source of income, to its current focus on technological research and development and the service sector, the state has seen many changes in its economic landscape. To make a profit, settlers in Massachusetts had to develop a diverse economy. Some developed small necessary industries, while others looked out to sea for their livelihood.
Fishing, whaling, and boatbuilding were all important sources of income for coastal cities. Whale oil was a valuable resource, and greenhouse and nursery products (flowers, ornamental shrubs) are still an important source of agricultural income in Massachusetts today. Other crops such as sweet corn and apples are also grown in the state. The Massachusetts Colony was one of 13 original colonies located on the Atlantic coast of North America. To make money, settlers had to develop a diverse economy.
Some developed small necessary industries, working as tanners, loaders, metallurgists and merchants. However, most of them looked out to sea. Plymouth Colony's economy was based on agriculture, fishing, whaling, wood and skin. In cities along the coast, settlers earned their living fishing, whaling and building boats. Massachusetts merchants built and purchased ships that transported goods and natural resources across the Atlantic, and employed dozens of settlers on each ship.
One of the first and largest shoe plants in the United States was the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Beverly (built 1903-0), while the construction of the Springfield Armory in 1777 boosted the industry in Western Massachusetts while helping the revolutionary cause. By the late 1970s, the industry had returned; Massachusetts is now often listed as one of the top U. S. states for technological research and development. Community, business and personal services (private health care, private schools, law firms, computer programming and network services, engineering companies) are the most important service sector in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts commercial fishing industry offers a wide range of products including cod, flounder, haddock, lobster, sea bass, whiting, clams, crabs, hake, herring, pollock, squid, swordfish and tuna. The state's long history of economic development has allowed it to become one of the most prosperous states in the country today.
From its early days as an agricultural colony to its current focus on technology and services, Massachusetts has been able to make money through a variety of different industries.