Community Spotlight – Gloucester, Massachusetts

April 20, 2023 12:20 pm

The North Shore Alliance for Economic Development serves 30 communities, including four Gateway Cities, and brings their leaders together to explore and take action on economic development issues that can help grow the region, including those that advance the Commonwealth as a whole.

Over the course of the next few months, we will explore and get to know these 30 communities that make up the North Shore region of Massachusetts. We hope our readers will learn more about the unique benefits each community brings to their residents and visitors and how collectively they strengthen our regional economy.

row boat in Gloucester

Gloucester – America’s Oldest Seaport

A short three years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the area of Gloucester (which included what is now Rockport) was established as a settlement. Even from the time of first contact with the Native Americans living in this region, Gloucester was known for its fishing and living off the sea.

Today, Gloucester is known not only for its working harbor but also for its robust tourist industry, strong downtown business area, and vacation destination. The City has invested time and effort into the visitor and tourist economy to meet the changing needs and interests of visitors.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau report the population of Gloucester is 29,729. The City of Gloucester measures 41.5 square miles.

Economic Strengths & Projects in Gloucester

The Economic Development Division of Gloucester works diligently with several other groups to encourage “programs, policies or activities that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for the City through economic development projects and supporting existing businesses and welcoming new businesses.” (Source:

The Economic Development Division works closely with the Gloucester Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) and the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

The Gloucester Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) is also committed to encouraging economic development in the City by ​​encouraging new industries and expanding the industrial capacity of the City. One specific initiative that has been encouraged is the Bio Initiative to bring businesses in the life sciences to the Gloucester area. Two examples of this are the world-class research companies UMASS Large Pelagics Research Center and Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI).

Economic Forecast in Gloucester

A report from the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce points to evidence that the “over 700 diverse businesses, employing 1,800 people that deliver over $500 million in economic output” add to the positive forecast of the economy in Gloucester.

According to Best Places online, a website that helps compare the cost of living, unemployment, and other economic factors, the economic forecast in Gloucester is a positive one. “Gloucester has seen the job market increase by 4.3% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 38.9%, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.”

Fisherman at the Wheel

Points of Interest and Events

Gloucester is home to many unique festivals and things to do and see. Here are some of the points of interest around the City as well as festivals.

Gloucester is known for its beaches, including Good Harbor, Pavilion, Half-Moon, Wingaersheek, Cressy, and Niles. Keeping with “things to do and see” by the ocean, many people travel to Gloucester to enjoy the lighthouse tours, deep sea fishing, whale watching, and sunset cruises. In terms of shopping and dining, Gloucester has an active downtown area with stores, shops, and restaurants offering seafood, Italian cuisine, Thai, and many more.

The arts and culture scene in Gloucester is equally impressive with the Cultural Arts Center at Rocky Neck Art Colony and many festivals to celebrate artisans such as the Cape Ann Plein Air Competition and Festival.

The City of Gloucester also hosts some unique and fun ways to experience the City including the St. Peter’s Festival, Cape Ann Artisan Tour, Gloucester’s Blues Festival, and the Waterfront Festival.

Economic Resources

As mentioned above, the Economic Development Division works closely with the Gloucester Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) and the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. There are also many funds and resources listed on their Business Resources page.

Major Strengths of the Community

Like many of the 30 cities and towns on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Gloucester is a diverse community with supportive programs for new and existing businesses alike.

This year Gloucester is celebrating its 400 Anniversary and the City has created the website Gloucester 400+ which is dedicated to collecting the stories of Gloucester and supporting celebrations throughout the year. The ultimate goal of Gloucester 400 is to draw awareness and celebrate the 400 years of cultural, social, ethnic, and economic diversity.

Why Choose to Live or Do Business in Gloucester?

Gloucester is a beautiful coastal town that is just 35 miles from Boston. It boasts a lower cost of living for individuals and families than in cities closer to Boston and hosts a large number of community events as well as things to do and see.

Public Transportation & Navigating Gloucester

Gloucester is accessible by train, car, and bus. By car, Gloucester can be accessed by Route 128 along the northeast corridor of Massachusetts. Using the MBTA in Gloucester is also fairly simple with commuter rail stops along the Newburyport/Rockport Line with stations at Railroad Ave and West Gloucester. By bus, the Cape Ann Transportation Authority has stops throughout the city.

Contact Gloucester

Mayor Greg Verga
Gloucester City Hall
9 Dale Avenue
Gloucester, MA 01930