BOSTON (WWLP) – The pandemic put a strain on our workforce here in Massachusetts. The latest report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) found startling trends when it comes to the population of Massachusetts, and they were all exacerbated by COVID-19.

COVID-19 changed how many residents of Massachusetts lived their daily lives. One of those, being the ability to work from home.

The MTF turned to the high costs of housing and commuting, combined with the ability of remote work, as to why people are choosing to move out of Massachusetts. Residents moved out of the state in 2021 at the highest rate since 2005. Since 2021, the state has lost 46,000 residents.

International migration to Massachusetts fell drastically as well due to COVID-19 restrictions. Over the years, international immigration was key to keeping the population and economy growing.

The workforce shortage is also increasing. According to the report, Massachusetts has over two jobs for every unemployed person in the state, which is double from just five years ago.

“After the pandemic, it’s a new day. And we just have to be mindful of the way people’s approach to work has changed, where they live has changed, and how Massachusetts fares relative to other states and try to proactively make sure that Massachusetts is and remains competitive,” said Eileen McAnneny, President of the MTF.

Adding to the lack in population, the number of births in the state has declined by almost 30 percent in the past 30 years. Deaths are also increasing due to an aging population.

The report states that the next few years are decisive to see if the state can overcome these challenges and retain talent to stay competitive globally.