Racial Equity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

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.

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 performing?

In 2018-22, 8.1% of African American and 8.0% of Latino residents in Worcester County were unemployed, compared to 4.0% of Asian and 4.9% of White residents. This is in line with disparities observed at the state and national levels, but the unemployment rates for Latinos in Worcester and the state are higher than the nation as whole.

Since 2008-12, the unemployment rate declined seven percentage points among Latino workers in Worcester County, four percentage points among both Asian and African American workers, and three percentage points among White residents.

Why do these disparities exist?

While traditional explanations for employment rate disparities focus on education and training gaps, White people tend to be employed at higher rates than Black and Latino people at every education level (high school, some college, bachelor's degree, etc.). This has led many researchers to focus on labor market discrimination as a primary cause of higher unemployment among those groups. However, it is also true that education levels are generally lower for Black and Latino people, suggesting that the education system's failure to equitably serve those groups is also a contributing factor.

Notes about the data

The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

Data on unemployment by race and ethnicity is only available from the American Community Survey, and it is somewhat different from the total population unemployment data produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics using responses to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Two different survey methodologies are used (ACS responses are collected by mail, phone and in person; CPS uses phone and in-person interviews), CPS questions on employment are more detailed, and CPS requires that someone be "actively" searching for work (interviewing, calling contacts) in order to qualify as unemployed. In addition, the ACS estimates used here cover a 5-year period, compared to an annual average of monthly estimates presented in the general unemployment indicator. In 2009, the annual unemployment estimates for the nation from the two surveys varied, with ACS at 9.9% and CPS at 9.3%. Data for this indicator are expected to be released in the fourth quarter.

Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Worcester County4.0%*8.1%*8.0%4.9%
Athol0.0%***0.0%***3.6%***7.8%*
Clinton9.6%***0.0%***7.5%***2.8%***
Fitchburg14.0%***8.9%***10.5%***5.3%*
Gardner0.0%***8.7%***0.0%***6.7%**
Northbridge0.0%***0.0%***21.6%***4.7%**
Southbridge0.0%***29.2%***10.1%***7.2%*
Spencer22.9%***0.0%***0.0%***6.0%**
Webster13.2%***7.0%***8.7%***7.2%**
Westborough2.1%***10.1%***0.0%***3.1%**
Worcester4.6%**7.4%*7.5%*5.7%
Massachusetts4.1%8.3%8.6%4.6%
Additional Worcester County localities
Ashburnham0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***3.0%***
Auburn4.6%***0.0%***10.4%***4.1%**
BarreN/A***0.0%***0.0%***5.4%***
Berlin0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***4.1%***
Blackstone9.4%***0.0%***5.0%***3.4%**
Bolton0.0%***N/A***45.7%***3.6%***
Boylston13.3%***100.0%***21.1%***2.8%***
Brookfield0.0%***0.0%***39.0%***2.6%***
Charlton0.0%***0.0%***29.6%***3.5%**
Douglas0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***5.9%***
Dudley11.6%***17.6%***12.1%***5.3%**
East Brookfield0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***5.4%***
Grafton0.0%***0.0%***20.2%***4.6%*
Hardwick0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***3.2%***
Harvard0.0%***0.0%***4.8%***4.8%***
Holden8.0%***8.8%***4.3%***5.0%*
Hopedale0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***4.0%***
Hubbardston0.0%***0.0%***14.8%***3.4%***
Lancaster0.0%***0.0%***14.2%***10.6%**
Leicester13.0%***7.6%***9.9%***2.3%***
Lunenburg0.0%***17.5%***15.8%***7.1%***
Mendon0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***1.0%***
Milford14.7%***5.5%***6.5%***4.7%**
Millbury0.0%***0.0%***1.3%***5.6%**
Millville0.0%***95.0%***0.0%***2.0%***
New BraintreeN/A***72.7%***N/A***1.3%***
Northborough4.9%***42.4%***0.0%***3.6%**
North Brookfield0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***4.1%***
OakhamN/A***33.3%***0.0%***2.5%***
Oxford0.0%***0.0%***0.4%***4.7%***
Paxton0.0%***3.6%***0.0%***4.3%***
Petersham0.0%***N/A***0.0%***3.3%***
PhillipstonN/A***0.0%***0.0%***9.6%***
PrincetonN/A***0.0%***22.6%***1.8%***
Royalston0.0%***N/A***N/A***4.6%***
Rutland0.0%***12.1%***3.8%***2.2%***
Shrewsbury3.2%***3.8%***2.9%***2.7%***
Southborough4.0%***0.0%***4.7%***2.6%***
Sterling0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***3.7%***
Sturbridge0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***5.1%***
Sutton0.0%***57.4%***0.0%***1.7%***
Templeton0.0%***0.0%***0.0%***6.9%***
Upton0.0%***14.2%***0.0%***4.5%***
Uxbridge0.0%***0.0%***6.4%***3.9%***
Warren0.0%***0.0%***25.6%***11.0%***
West Boylston24.4%***10.9%***0.0%***4.3%***
West BrookfieldN/A***N/A***0.0%***9.5%***
Westminster0.0%***N/A***0.0%***4.2%***
Winchendon0.0%***0.0%***26.1%***7.5%**
Leominster3.2%***5.4%***5.1%***6.1%*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.




Number Unemployed by Race/Ethnicity, 2018-22
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Worcester County938*1,982*4,14118,368
Athol0***0***19***434*
Clinton19***0***112***226***
Fitchburg57***159***703***828*
Gardner0***17***0***600**
Northbridge0***0***173***413**
Southbridge0***148***304***467*
Spencer11***0***0***368**
Webster9***40***119***539**
Westborough61***33***0***236**
Worcester344**1,057*1,720*3,845
Massachusetts11,38122,49238,228130,908
Additional Worcester County localities
Ashburnham0***0***0***94***
Auburn12***0***45***336**
Barre0***0***0***155***
Berlin0***0***0***75***
Blackstone15***0***9***165**
Bolton0***0***85***93***
Boylston15***15***15***68***
Brookfield0***0***16***48***
Charlton0***0***80***231**
Douglas0***0***0***301***
Dudley33***40***35***301**
East Brookfield0***0***0***60***
Grafton0***0***134***421*
Hardwick0***0***0***39***
Harvard0***0***11***128***
Holden24***22***23***472*
Hopedale0***0***0***125***
Hubbardston0***0***8***79***
Lancaster0***0***27***437**
Leicester7***13***22***132***
Lunenburg0***10***19***420***
Mendon0***0***0***33***
Milford79***36***147***593**
Millbury0***0***2***376**
Millville0***19***0***35***
New Braintree0***8***0***7***
Northborough49***123***0***265**
North Brookfield0***0***0***111***
Oakham0***5***0***19***
Oxford0***0***1***336***
Paxton0***3***0***108***
Petersham0***0***0***18***
Phillipston0***0***0***105***
Princeton0***0***12***35***
Royalston0***0***0***34***
Rutland0***7***7***104***
Shrewsbury133***31***32***393***
Southborough34***0***10***124***
Sterling0***0***0***170***
Sturbridge0***0***0***253***
Sutton0***31***0***93***
Templeton0***0***0***289***
Upton0***47***0***167***
Uxbridge0***0***14***303***
Warren0***0***34***293***
West Boylston11***11***0***142***
West Brookfield0***0***0***186***
Westminster0***0***0***170***
Winchendon0***0***42***341**
Leominster25***107***161***1,129*

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.







INDICATORS TREND
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments 1
Increasing
Average Charitable Contribution 0
Maintaining
Households With Internet Access 1
Increasing
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Voter Participation Rate -1
Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate 0
Maintaining
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Population by Age -1
Decreasing
Households by Type 0
Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
80/20 Income Ratio 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Age 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Homelessness 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance 0
Maintaining
Households Without Vehicles 0
Maintaining
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Average Salary by Sector 10 Not Applicable*
Female to Male Earnings Ratio 0
Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Employer Size 1
Increasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Self-Employment Revenue 0
Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County for Work 1
Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Preterm Births 10 Not Applicable*
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels -1
Decreasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
People Without Health Insurance -1
Decreasing
Cancer Incidence 0
Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence -1
Decreasing
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 1
Increasing
Opioid Overdose Mortality Rate 1
Increasing
Children Living in Poverty 0
Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students 1
Increasing
Disengaged Youth -1
Decreasing
Prekindergarten Participation -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Business Ownership, by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 English, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math, by Student Subgroup -1
Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate, by Student Group 1
Increasing





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