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).
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.
The unemployment rate in Essex County was 6.4% in 2021, which represented about 27,000 people seeking employment. This represents a decline from the previous year when the rate peaked at 10.4% due to COVID in 2020. The state and nation have also had an overall decline since 2020, and had rates of 5.7% and 5.3%, respectively in 2021.
The unemployment rate in Essex County was higher than Lake County, IL (5.3%), Middlesex, MA (4.6%) and Westchester, NY (4.8%). Also on par with state and national trends, all comparison areas have lower unemployment rates since peak rates in 2020.
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.