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slides: Central Massachusetts’ Most Unemployed Cities and Towns

Thursday, November 21, 2013

 

The unemployment rate in Central Massachusetts ranges dramatically with some towns a 40% higher  and some more than 2 full percentage points lower than the state's average.

The Worcester job market was the state's only area to show month-over-month job creation in the most recently available unemployment numbers. According to a recent analysis by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, economic growth in the state outpaced the national trend in the third quarter of 2013.

Sharyn T. Williams with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce attributed growth in central Massachusetts to a diverse economy. “We have industry, we have healthcare, we have education.”

For Unemployment Statistics From Each Central Mass City and Town, See The Slides Below

Researchers at that institute gave a preliminary growth rate in real gross domestic product of 3.5 percent — above the national rate of 2.8 percent. Alan Clayton-Matthews, an associate professor of Economics and Public Policy at Northeastern University, pointed out in a release that the estimate was based on incomplete data because of missing employment numbers for the month of September.

Published in the MassBenchmarks journal, the report's authors estimated “modest” continued job growth in the month of September by using Massachusetts' historical average relationship with national employment figures, which improved slightly.

Signs of improvement in job growth

Using the latest available information, the local region added 3,900 jobs between August and one year prior.

A report this year by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau found education and health services, manufacturing, and “other services” (including nonprofit work and repair, personal, and household services) made up a larger proportion of local jobs compared to the national average.

Education and health services was the largest job creator across the state in August.

Jobless rate still above state average

Despite job gains in the area, many remain out of work with the jobless rate in Massachusetts' second largest population center standing at a seasonally unadjusted 8.9 percent — well above the state unemployment average of 6.8 percent.

In the greater Worcester metropolitan area, where unemployment sat at 7.6 percent as a whole, the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development tallied 800 jobs added in the month of August.

With more recent unemployment figures delayed by last month's federal government shutdown, updated numbers will be released this week from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Williams said the chamber was cautiously optimistic ahead of the release of those figures. “We are seeing incremental progress for some businesses — they're certainly being cautious, but they are moving forward.”

Jim Donoghue, president of the North Worcester Business Association, pointed to recent activity in his part of the city but described the overall economy as “flat”.

“We've been through a lot” recently, he said, citing external factors at the federal level including sequestration and the shutdown.

“If the government can just stay normal, things will improve,” Donoghue said.

A hub for education

Worcester officials tout the city as an economic engine for Central Massachusetts. Home to 10 colleges and universities, 2012 saw expansions at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester State University.

This year, Quinsigamond Community College announced an expansion downtown with a new health care and workforce development training center expected to open in early 2014.

But residential and business property owners in Worcester are seeing their water and sewer rates rise after a city council vote earlier this year.

Williams, the chamber staff member, said some businesses had expressed “definite reservations” about hiring and spending on long-term investments.

“It's fragile,” she said.

Minimum wage increases are hurting, not helping

Christopher Pinto of the Worcester Republican City Committee said unemployment rates would be hampered by efforts to raise the state's minimum hourly wage. The current measure, which would raise the minimum wage from $8 to $11 by 2016 and tie future increases to inflation, passed Tuesday in the state Senate and has the support of Gov. Deval Patrick.

Pinto called the move “misguided.”

“Here is the thing about unemployment: Raising the minimum wage creates unemployment,” he said.

“Raising the minimum wage will cause the cost of goods to rise and this hurts everyone's buying power, most especially the poor and the working poor who the legislation is intended to help,” Pinto continued.

Pinto also levied charges against the Affordable Care Act and Massachusetts Health Reform Act, which he said placed additional costs on business and made it more expensive for them to hire.

An increasing labor force

Massachusetts added 7,500 jobs in August, but the adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged because of an increase in the total labor force. New jobs came in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, construction, information, and financial activities — in that order.

Unemployment figures for the months of September and October — in addition to revised numbers for August — will be released Friday according to Lauren Jones of the Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Updated unemployment rates by local area will be available next week. Jones said some of the data been delayed by last month's government shutdown.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts hit a recessionary high of 8.7 percent (adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations) in late 2009. But that rate was down to 6.4 percent in March and April of this year.

 

Related Slideshow: Central MA Unemployment Rates #72 - #1

Here are the unemployment statistics for each town in Central Mass, ranked from least to most-

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#72

Harvard

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 4.4%

Unemployed: 140

Employed: 3,059

Total workforce: 3,199

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#71

Hopkinton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 4.7%

Unemployed: 369

Employed: 7,523

Total workforce: 7,892

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#69 (Tie)

Berlin

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 4.9%

Unemployed: 79

Employed: 1,520

Total workforce: 1,599

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#69 (Tie)

Hopedale

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 4.9%

Unemployed: 159

Employed: 3,074

Total workforce: 3,233

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#67 (Tie)

Bolton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.1%

Unemployed: 147

Employed: 2,733

Total workforce: 2,880

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#67 (Tie)

Southborough

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.1%

Unemployed: 257

Employed: 4,813

Total workforce: 5,070

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#66

Marlborough

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.5%

Unemployed: 1,283

Employed: 21,909

Total workforce: 23,192

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#65

Northborough

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.6%

Unemployed: 432

Employed: 7,259

Total workforce: 7,691

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#62 (Tie)

Mendon

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.7%

Unemployed: 196

Employed: 3,218

Total workforce: 3,414

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#62 (Tie)

Princeton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.7%

Unemployed: 107

Employed: 1,764

Total workforce: 1,871

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#62 (Tie)

Topsfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.7%

Unemployed: 176

Employed: 2,910

Total workforce: 3,086

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#61

Boylston

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.8%

Unemployed: 134

Employed: 2,167

Total workforce: 2,301

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#58 (Tie)

Shrewsbury

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.9%

Unemployed: 1,084

Employed: 17,152

Total workforce: 18,236

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#58 (Tie)

Sterling

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.9%

Unemployed: 256

Employed: 4,112

Total workforce: 4,368

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#58 (Tie)

Westborough

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 5.9%

Unemployed: 525

Employed: 8,415

Total workforce: 8,940

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#56 (Tie)

Sturbridge

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.0%

Unemployed: 306

Employed: 4,763

Total workforce: 5,069

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#56 (Tie)

Upton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.0%

Unemployed: 241

Employed: 3,752

Total workforce: 3,993

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#53 (Tie)

Douglas

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.1%

Unemployed: 290

Employed: 4,469

Total workforce: 4,759

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#53 (Tie)

Hudson

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.1%

Unemployed: 696

Employed: 10,740

Total workforce: 11,436

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#53 (Tie)

Milford

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.1%

Unemployed: 954

Employed: 14,670

Total workforce: 15,624

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#51 (Tie)

Oakham

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.3%

Unemployed: 65

Employed: 973

Total workforce: 1,038

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#51 (Tie)

Sutton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.3%

Unemployed: 302

Employed: 4,500

Total workforce: 4,802

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#48 (Tie)

Holden

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.4%

Unemployed: 576

Employed: 8,430

Total workforce: 9,006

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#48 (Tie)

Paxton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.4%

Unemployed: 158

Employed: 2,327

Total workforce: 2,485

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#48 (Tie)

Shirley

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.4%

Unemployed: 223

Employed: 3,269

Total workforce: 3,492

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#46 (Tie)

Ayer

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.5%

Unemployed: 283

Employed: 4,100

Total workforce: 4,383

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#46 (Tie)

Hardwick

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.5%

Unemployed: 94

Employed: 1,359

Total workforce: 1,453

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#45

Grafton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.6%

Unemployed: 635

Employed: 9,043

Total workforce: 9,678

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#42 (Tie)

Hubbardston

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.7%

Unemployed: 163

Employed: 2,255

Total workforce: 2,418

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#42 (Tie)

Millbury

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.7%

Unemployed: 489

Employed: 6,787

Total workforce: 7,276

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#42 (Tie)

Petersham

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.7%

Unemployed: 43

Employed: 596

Total workforce: 639

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#40 (Tie)

Lancaster

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.8%

Unemployed: 240

Employed: 3,281

Total workforce: 3,521

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#40 (Tie)

Townsend

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 6.8%

Unemployed: 346

Employed: 4,738

Total workforce: 5,084

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#38 (Tie)

Charlton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.0%

Unemployed: 491

Employed: 6,483

Total workforce: 6,974

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#38 (Tie)

Dudley

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.0%

Unemployed: 431

Employed: 5,696

Total workforce: 6,127

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#33 (Tie)

Auburn

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.1%

Unemployed: 613

Employed: 8,024

Total workforce: 8,637

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#33 (Tie)

East Brookfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.1%

Unemployed: 86

Employed: 1,129

Total workforce: 1,215

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#33 (Tie)

Holland

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.1%

Unemployed: 99

Employed: 1,291

Total workforce: 1,390

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#33 (Tie)

New Braintree

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.1%

Unemployed: 40

Employed: 524

Total workforce: 564

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#33 (Tie)

Rutland

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.1%

Unemployed: 313

Employed: 4,081

Total workforce: 4,394

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#32

Oxford

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.2%

Unemployed: 548

Employed: 7,032

Total workforce: 7,580

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#31

Uxbridge

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.3%

Unemployed: 536

Employed: 6,784

Total workforce: 7,320

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#30

Leicester

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.5%

Unemployed: 450

Employed: 5,565

Total workforce: 6,015

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#27 (Tie)

Ashburnham

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.6%

Unemployed: 236

Employed: 2,865

Total workforce: 3,101

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#27 (Tie)

Lunenburg

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.6%

Unemployed: 398

Employed: 4,850

Total workforce: 5,248

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#27 (Tie)

Northbridge

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.6%

Unemployed: 608

Employed: 7,383

Total workforce: 7,991

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#26

Spencer

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.7%

Unemployed: 492

Employed: 5,935

Total workforce: 6,427

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#24 (Tie)

Ware

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.9%

Unemployed: 394

Employed: 4,611

Total workforce: 5,005

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#24 (Tie)

West Boylston

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 7.9%

Unemployed: 259

Employed: 3,035

Total workforce: 3,294

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#21 (Tie)

Brimfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.0%

Unemployed: 152

Employed: 1,745

Total workforce: 1,897

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#21 (Tie)

Templeton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.0%

Unemployed: 305

Employed: 3,520

Total workforce: 3,825

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#21 (Tie)

Westminster

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.0%

Unemployed: 297

Employed: 3,417

Total workforce: 3,714

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#19 (Tie)

North Brookfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.1%

Unemployed: 195

Employed: 2,224

Total workforce: 2,419

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#19 (Tie)

Palmer

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.1%

Unemployed: 508

Employed: 5,772

Total workforce: 6,280

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#18

Warren

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.4%

Unemployed: 209

Employed: 2,271

Total workforce: 2,480

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#17

West Brookfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.6%

Unemployed: 155

Employed: 1,652

Total workforce: 1,807

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#15 (Tie)

Royalston

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.7%

Unemployed: 52

Employed: 547

Total workforce: 599

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#15 (Tie)

Webster

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.7%

Unemployed: 723

Employed: 7,569

Total workforce: 8,292

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#13 (Tie)

Brookfield

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.8%

Unemployed: 163

Employed: 1,695

Total workforce: 1,858

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#13 (Tie)

Millville

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.8%

Unemployed: 158

Employed: 1,642

Total workforce: 1,800

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#11 (Tie)

Barre

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.9%

Unemployed: 244

Employed: 2,510

Total workforce: 2,754

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#11 (Tie)

Worcester

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 8.9%

Unemployed: 7,562

Employed: 77,653

Total workforce: 85,215

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#9 (Tie)

Ashby

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.0%

Unemployed: 149

Employed: 1,503

Total workforce: 1,652

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#9 (Tie)

Orange

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.0%

Unemployed: 332

Employed: 3,356

Total workforce: 3,688

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#7 (Tie)

Blackstone

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.2%

Unemployed: 488

Employed: 4,824

Total workforce: 5,312

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#7 (Tie)

Clinton

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.2%

Unemployed: 676

Employed: 6,652

Total workforce: 7,328

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#6

Winchendon

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.3%

Unemployed: 453

Employed: 4,407

Total workforce: 4,860

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#5

Leominster

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.6%

Unemployed: 1,937

Employed: 18,141

Total workforce: 20,078

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#3 (Tie)

Southbridge

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.9%

Unemployed: 787

Employed: 7,127

Total workforce: 7,914

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#3 (Tie)

Gardner

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 9.9%

Unemployed: 934

Employed: 8,514

Total workforce: 9,448

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#2

Fitchburg

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 10.0%

Unemployed: 1,829

Employed: 16,435

Total workforce: 7,914

Prev Next

#1

Athol

Unemployment rate, August 2013: 10.5%

Unemployed: 543

Employed: 4,647

Total workforce: 5,190

 
 

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