Economy And Workforce
Unemployment Rate

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 county doing?

The unemployment rate in Essex County was 3.8% in 2017, which represented about 15,700 people seeking employment. This was a continuation of the steady decline seen in unemployment rates since the peak rate in Essex County of 8.7% in 2009. The state and nation have also had an overall decline since 2009, and had rates of 3.7% and 4.4%, respectively in 2017. The 2017 rates for Essex County and the state, though, were far higher than rates under 3% in 2000.

How do we compare to similar counties?

The unemployment rate in Essex County was below Lake County, IL (4.4%) and Westchester County, NY (4.6%), and above Middlesex, MA (3.0%). Also on par with state and national trends, all comparison areas have had declines in unemployment rates since peak rates in 2009.

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. 2018 data for this indicator are expected to be released in the second quarter of 2019.

Unemployment Rate
Essex County, MA2.7%4.1%5.9%6.3%5.7%5.3%5.3%4.9%5.9%8.7%8.7%7.6%7.1%7.0%6.0%5.0%4.0%3.8%
Middlesex County, MA2.2%3.3%5.0%5.2%4.4%4.1%4.1%3.8%4.5%6.9%6.9%5.9%5.4%5.5%4.7%3.9%3.2%3.0%
Lake County, IL3.4%4.2%5.3%5.8%5.2%4.6%4.2%4.8%6.4%9.8%9.8%8.8%8.1%7.9%6.4%5.4%5.2%4.4%
Westchester County, NY3.4%3.8%4.5%4.5%4.4%4.0%3.8%3.7%4.8%7.1%7.4%7.1%7.3%6.3%5.1%4.5%4.3%4.6%
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%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total Unemployed
Essex County, MA10,14215,30022,56423,97421,42819,75419,66718,24222,09933,01634,11629,93027,95928,14224,18220,35316,36315,663
Middlesex County, MA17,71627,27141,31642,99735,94332,98632,94630,70737,34656,86857,20248,60645,02546,01439,84933,83827,70626,967
Lake County, IL11,50714,17317,83119,62118,12816,43315,32117,78823,66635,72736,40332,52729,78128,79623,52919,77319,25316,350
Westchester County, NY15,71117,50321,23421,09521,22519,29618,39218,14123,74334,54535,20033,48334,65429,87524,27621,84720,60922,053
United States5,692,0006,801,0008,378,0008,774,0008,149,0007,591,0007,001,0007,078,0008,924,00014,265,00014,825,00013,747,00012,506,00011,460,0009,617,0008,296,0007,751,0006,982,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Decreasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Increasing
Crimes Against Property Increasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Increasing
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Decreasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Maintaining
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Decreasing
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Maintaining
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Decreasing
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining