The unemployment rate for racial and ethnic groups in a geographic area. Unemployed individuals are those without jobs who are able, available and seeking work; the rate presents them as a share 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).
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.
In 2013-17, unemployment in Essex County was highest among Hispanic and African American workers at 8.9% and 9.3%, respectively. Among Asian and white workers, unemployment was 5.8% and 5.5%, respectively. There were similar disparities at the state and national levels, but the unemployment rate for African American workers in Essex County was lower than for Massachusetts as a whole (10.4%) and the nation (11.9%). The unemployment rate for Hispanic workers in Essex County was higher than the national rate (7.6%).
Since 2000, unemployment rates for all racial and ethnic groups decreased in Essex County, except white workers, who had an increase of 1.5 percentage points. The rate decreased most among Asian workers (1.4 points) and Hispanic workers (1.3 points).
In 2013-17, Essex County had a lower unemployment rate among African Americans than Lake, IL (14.6%), but was fairly similar to Middlesex, MA (8.9%) and Westchester, NY (9.9%). All three comparison counties had somewhat lower unemployment among Hispanic workers.
The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with 3 asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.