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Economy And Workforce
Unemployment Rate

Increasing


Unemployment Rate

What does this measure?

Unemployed individuals are those without jobs who are able, available and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the total labor force (the total number of employed and unemployed individuals 16 or older and not living in prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes).

Why is this important?

Unemployment rates are a relatively timely indicator of current local economic conditions, particularly recent changes in the employment landscape that reflect the overall health of the economy.

How is our region doing?

The unemployment rate in MetroWest was 7.9% in 2020, which represented about 133,900 people seeking employment. Subsequent to a peak in unemployment during the 2008 recession, the unemployment rate had been steadily declining, year-over-year, to under 3% in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a surge of unemployment, pushing 2020 rates above 2009 recessionary rates. The state and nation also had a corresponding jump in unemployment, with rates of 8.9% and 8.1%, respectively, in 2020, significantly higher than their respective 2019 rates of 2.7% and 3.0%.

Notes about the data

The unemployment rate represents only those who are actively seeking employment and does not account for under-employment or discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs. Also, county-level estimates are based on relatively small samples, and the true number of unemployed residents may vary considerably from the estimate. The rates reported here are averages of monthly rates.

Unemployment Rate
200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
United States4.0%4.7%5.8%6.0%5.5%5.1%4.6%4.6%5.8%9.3%9.6%8.9%8.1%7.4%6.2%5.3%4.9%4.4%3.9%3.7%8.1%
Massachusetts2.8%3.8%5.2%5.7%5.1%4.8%4.7%4.5%5.3%8.1%8.1%7.2%6.7%6.6%5.7%4.8%4.0%3.8%3.4%3.0%8.9%
Region2.4%3.5%5.0%5.4%4.7%4.3%4.3%4.1%4.8%7.5%7.3%6.4%6.0%5.9%5.1%4.3%3.6%3.4%3.1%2.7%7.9%
Middlesex2.3%3.4%4.9%5.2%4.4%4.0%3.9%3.7%4.3%6.9%6.7%5.9%5.4%5.4%4.7%3.9%3.3%3.1%2.8%2.4%7.3%
Norfolk2.4%3.2%4.6%5.1%4.5%4.1%4.1%3.9%4.7%7.3%7.2%6.3%5.7%5.7%5.0%4.2%3.5%3.4%3.1%2.6%8.3%
Worcester2.9%3.9%5.6%6.1%5.5%5.2%5.1%5.0%5.8%8.9%8.6%7.7%7.2%7.1%6.1%5.1%4.3%4.0%3.7%3.3%8.8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




Total Unemployed
200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
United States5,692,0006,801,0008,378,0008,774,0008,149,0007,591,0007,001,0007,078,0008,924,00014,265,00014,825,00013,747,00012,506,00011,460,0009,617,0008,296,0007,751,0006,982,0006,314,0006,001,00012,947,000
Massachusetts94,210128,540179,347195,695173,839162,583160,659155,327183,607280,925280,687251,677235,201233,545204,704172,113145,171140,526129,725114,351324,195
Region38,07054,83379,76385,68573,69268,01766,53164,15776,023118,861117,479103,37196,53896,27384,23870,82760,01458,32153,71047,054133,850
Middlesex18,55927,82340,91843,06035,76932,69531,69330,20835,87556,76455,50348,65445,52845,51139,88433,77128,68627,93025,50522,13464,193
Norfolk8,53311,55816,55218,07215,91714,64814,51913,94016,80426,11025,88522,48320,65420,84218,34415,35613,04112,88911,90310,32731,733
Worcester10,97815,45222,29324,55322,00620,67420,31920,00923,34435,98736,09132,23430,35629,92026,01021,70018,28717,50216,30214,59337,924

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics




INDICATORS TREND
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Decreasing
School Spending Per Student Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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