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 3% in 2019, which represented about 12,800 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 2.9% and 3.7%, respectively in 2019. The 2019 rates for Essex County and the state, though, were similar to rates under 3% in 2000.
The unemployment rate in Essex County was below Lake County, IL (4.1%) and Westchester County, NY (3.8%), and above Middlesex, MA (2.3%). Also on par with state and national trends, all comparison areas have had declines in unemployment rates since peak rates in 2009.
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. 2020 data for this indicator are expected to be released in the second quarter of 2021.