Sure, with three straight months of job growth, surging car sales and improving retail figures, this year looks pretty good for the U.S. economy. Cambridge was already there, as evidenced by developers’ lust for building here, continuing high costs for buying and renting property, a low storefront vacancy rate even in expensive areas such as Harvard Square and a peek at the city’s list of last year’s top 25 employers showing that about two-thirds of returning businesses added workers (57 percent) or kept employment level (9 percent).

Since the nation’s economy is likely to only keep improving, the risk to Cambridge from MBTA service cuts is all the more stark, since the city has five stops on the red line — Harvard and Central are the line’s first- and third-busiest stops — one on the green and dozens of bus lines and a commuter rail stop. More than half of commuters to Kendall Square use the T and bus, and Kendall is the home for about half of the top 10 employers in Cambridge. “Reliable service in North Cambridge, the Alewife area and throughout the city and region are critical for continued development,” city councillor Minka vanBeuzekom says, acknowledging the city’s portion of the more than 250 private-sector developments planned or proposed near subway and commuter rail stations. Build them and the region gets 92,000 more permanent jobs and 36,000 housing units, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Cut service and those figures suffer.

“The estimates I’ve seen are that, just looking at the red line, demand on the red line will double” in the next couple of decades, said Tim Rowe, chief executive of The Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square.

For the state and Cambridge especially, T service cuts look suicidal — short-term savings that risk causing industries to wither from inadequate infrastructure.

Since that message seems to have resonated with legislators and officials at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, let’s focus instead on what’s already good in Cambridge. Here are the city’s top 10 employers from last year, with the top four (Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge government and Novartis) and eighth-ranked Biogen Idec keeping their slots from 2010; three companies rising in rank; two falling; and Draper Laboratories and Cambridge Health Alliance rejoining the list after falling out of the top 10 in 2010:

Contact: Harvard, even with its oozing over the Charles River into Allston on hold, is too big to have an address. Its Web site gives a primary address of “Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138.” There’s also no phone number for potential employees, so just go to employment.harvard.edu. | The blurb: The Chronicle of Higher Education put Harvard on its “2011 Great Colleges to Work For” list, with special recognition for its compensation and benefits. (This doesn’t count for everyone. Low pay and job security for janitorial and library staff have been flash points for the social justice and Occupy crowd, which is quick to contrast the university’s sometimes miserly habits with its $31.7 billion endowment — up 15.1 percent from the year before and keeping Harvard securely atop the list of the country’s richest institutions of higher education.)

 

Contact: With more than 3,000 fewer employees than Harvard, the institute isn’t too big to have a regular mailing address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139-4307. Of course, that’s the address of the famed Infinite Corridor. Instead of a central employment office, there are 40 links to click here — and only a main phone number, (617) 253-1000. | The blurb: “MIT is devoted to the advancement of knowledge and education of students in areas that contribute to or prosper in an environment of science and technology.” But also “Are you ready to become a member of an inclusive, innovative and collaborative workplace where employee contributions help make MIT the amazing place it is?” Which seems a little over the top, considering that to see that question you have to go to the Web page for seeking employment at the institute. So, yes, probably.

 

Contact: The city’s personnel department is at 795 Massachusetts Ave.,
 Cambridge, MA 02139-3219, in Room 309, and can be called at (617) 349-4332. The Web site is here. | The blurb: “Cambridge is a city where people of diverse backgrounds and experience live and work side by side. Our residents come from many cultures, include many races, and speak many languages. We are committed to the idea that city government services should be provided by representatives of all our people. We are building a work force that reflects that commitment.”

 

Contact: Novartis has a ridiculously large presence worldwide and even just in Cambridge, where it has eight addresses, four on Massachusetts Avenue. So you’d best just go to the website. | The blurb: “An innovative health care company with pharmaceutical treatments for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, infectious disease and cancer.” The company is No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s 2012 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.”

 

Contact: Vertex has five locations around the world, but two in Cambridge: a corporate headquarters at 130 Waverly St. at (617) 444-6100 and a location at 675 W. Kendall St., Cambridge, MA 02142 at (617) 444-7299. The company invites job searches or exploratory curriculum vitae to be submitted online here. | The blurb: The company scored three top acknowledgments last year: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences called it a top employer, The Scientist ranked it No. 11 on its list of best places to work (with special recognition for its remuneration and benefits, policies and practices) and it was called one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Boston Business Journal as well. From the company: “Vertex creates new possibilities in medicine. Our team discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapies so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. Vertex scientists and our collaborators are working on new medicines to advance the treatment of hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy and other life-threatening diseases.”

 

Contact: 330 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138
 or call (617) 499-5066 … or click here. | The blurb: “Mount Auburn Hospital is a vibrant regional teaching hospital closely affiliated with the Harvard Medical School. Our caregivers have been  valued members of the community for well over a century.” It was called one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Boston Business Journal last year.

 

Contact: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc.
is at 555 Technology Square,
 Cambridge, MA 02139-3563,
and can be reached by calling (617) 258-1000. The company seems to prefer you visit its website.  | The blurb: Draper has five locations around the country but began in 1938 as the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory before becoming an independent nonprofit laboratory in 1973. It remains “a not-for-profit research and development laboratory focused on the design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions for our nation’s most challenging and important problems in security, space exploration, health care and energy” and says 70 percent of its staff is in the technical fields.

 

Contact: The company wants you to start here, but you can try the corporate headquarters at 14 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142 or call (617) 679-2000. | The blurb: Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec has grown into a global giant in work against diseases such as lymphoma, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences called it a top employer last year. “Those who join us experience the fulfillment that comes from helping to discover, manufacture and market new treatments for serious diseases in neurology, immunology and hematology,” the company says. “We offer our employees the best of both worlds: the agility and spirit of an independent biotechnology company, and the stability of a financially strong enterprise with a generous benefits package.”

 

Contact: Genzyme has nearly 65 locations in more than 40 countries, including 11 manufacturing facilities, and employs some 10,000 people around the world. It has four locations just in Cambridge, including a Genzyme Center corporate headquarters at 500 Kendall St., Cambridge, MA 02142 and at (617) 252-7500. For jobs, though, call (617) 252 7629 or click here. | The blurb: “One of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people [in the area of] rare genetic diseases, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and endocrinology.” The most recent plaudits for the 31-year-old company (now owned by Sanofi) includes The American Academy of Arts and Sciences calling it a top employer last year and The Boston Business Journal honoring it for charitable contributions at this year’s Corporate Citizenship Summit.

 

Contact: The alliance’s main address is 1493 Cambridge St.,
Cambridge, MA 02139, but the Human Resources office is at its Somerville Hospital campus, 230 Highland Ave., Somerville 02143, on the second floor and can be reached by calling (617) 591-4510. (Or click here.) | The blurb: Cambridge Health Alliance is a Harvard teaching hospital with affiliations at the Tufts University School of Medicine and several schools of nursing, including Boston College, Simmons College and the University of Massachusetts. It has three campuses — in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities — and a network of primary care practices. It’s “an award-winning system that has been recognized nationally for community and academic excellence.”