Thank you, Rich, and congratulations to you and all your colleagues at Boston Consulting Group on 50 great years. Welcome home to Boston. As you are a major player in commercial strategy, I thought I would say a word or two about our own growth strategy in Massachusetts -- as a way of saying why you're in the right place at the right time.
I have spent most of my career in the private sector. One of the things that worried me about the companies I worked in or with was the overemphasis on managing for the next quarter, on getting short-term results sometimes at the expense of the firm's long-term interests. That behavior has crept into the way we govern in America, where we govern for the next election cycle, or the next news cycle, instead of for the next generation.
So, we brought a different approach, emphasizing the things that would leave a lasting improvement in the strength of our Commonwealth -- by growing opportunity. Specifically, we have pursued a strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure.
We invest in education because education is our global calling card and our economic edge. The world needs well-prepared young minds and mid-career talent and with nearly 300 colleges and universities within an hour and a half of where you're sitting, brainpower is our abundant natural resource.
We invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today.
We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.
Education, innovation, infrastructure. It's a strategy proven through history. And it's working for us today.
Massachusetts has climbed out of recession faster than most other states and is growing twice as fast as the national growth rate. Earlier this year the Labor Department reported that we have re-gained all the jobs lost in the Great Recession, one of the first states in America to have achieved this milestone.
We are first in the nation in student achievement, economic competitiveness, entrepreneurial activity, health care coverage, veterans services and energy efficiency.
Massachusetts has emerged as the top international supercluster in the life sciences and biotech, and as a national leader in clean and alternative energy, with double-digit year-over-year job growth in the latter sector in each of the last few years.
I'm also pleased to report that our budgets are balanced and on-time, our bond rating is the highest in our history, and we have one of the largest rainy day funds in America.
None of this is by accident. It's the result of a clear strategy for long-term growth and disciplined execution -- even during a global economic collapse. We believe that, though government cannot solve every problem in everybody's life, if we all work together, we can help people help themselves.
And this last point is perhaps the most important and the one I will leave you with. We treat our Commonwealth as a unified community, with a sense of common cause and common destiny.
In some ways, I think the world may have gotten a special glimpse of that in the past few weeks, in the wake of the Marathon bombings. So many lives were suddenly, viciously and profoundly upended. Weeks later I am still trying to make sense of it. And yet out of the dust of that tragedy emerged a strong display of community. The courage of first responders, the supreme professionalism of the medical teams, the thoroughness and restraint of law enforcement, the acts of kindness and generosity by ordinary citizens -- in these ways and others the strength of our community was on display for the world, and maybe most especially, for ourselves.
I hope we are able to hold on to that. There isn't a single challenge that we face in this state or in this country that can't be overcome by a renewed sense that we have a stake in each other's dreams and struggles as well as our own.
Welcome to that Massachusetts, everyone. Congratulations on 50 great years and best wishes for the next. Enjoy your week in Boston.