Economy and Workforce






MetroWest recovered well from the 2008-09 recession, declining from a peak of 7.5% unemployment to a rate under 3% in 2019. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic spiked 2020 unemployment rates to 7.9%, in line with similar statewide and nationwide jumps in unemployment. While robust hiring has returned across the nation, it remains to be seen whether MetroWest’s rate will return to pre-pandemic levels.  

The share of jobs by sector is a key indicator of the structure of the economy in a region. The largest sectors in MetroWest in 2020 were Professional and Business Services, with 21% of jobs, followed by Trade, Transportation and Utilities (15%), Health Care and Social Assistance (13%), Financial Activities (10%), and Government, at about 8.8%.  Compared to the state as a whole and the nation, MetroWest has a higher proportion of jobs in Professional and Business Services and a lower proportion in Leisure and Hospitality and in Government. In other sectors, MetroWest is similar to Massachusetts as a whole.

Among large sectors, MetroWest has seen the greatest growth in the Financial Activities (42%), Healthcare and Social Assistance (40%) and Professional and Business Services (30%) sectors.

The biggest decline among major sectors was in Manufacturing, where jobs fell 38%. Some smaller sectors had large gains or declines: Agriculture, with 0.2% of total jobs, grew 23% since 2001, and Education, with 6% of all jobs, grew 27%. Trends in MetroWest were broadly similar to statewide and national trends, excepting for higher growth in Agriculture and lower growth in Education.

Yearly salaries in MetroWest averaged $86,400 in 2020. The highest-paid sectors in the region were Information ($150,000), Professional and Business Services ($133,000), Manufacturing ($108,000), and Financial Activities ($110,000). The lowest-paid sector was Leisure and Hospitality ($30,000). This was similar to the state and nation, where the Financial Activities and Information sectors were the two highest-earning sectors.

In MetroWest, as in the state and nation, women’s earnings tended to lag men’s earnings. In 2016-20, women in the MetroWest region earned 66 cents for every dollar earned by men (a female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.66). This ratio was up 14% from 58 cents in 2000.

MetroWest has significant disparities in racial/ethnic rates of business ownership. In 2017, the most recent year for the data, 80% of the region’s businesses were owned by white owners, approximately 8% were owned by Asian owners, with just under 2% owned by Hispanic owners and 1% owned by African American owners. These disparities parallel similar state and national disparities in ownership.





INDICATORS REGIONAL 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 Increasing
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
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Maintaining
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group Not Applicable
School Spending Per Student Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households 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
Share of Workers who are Professionals, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate 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 Not Applicable
College Admission Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
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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