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January 24, 2024

Central Mass. unemployment rates spike, rise above 2022 levels

Photo | WBJ File Downtown Framingham

All four metropolitan areas of Central Massachusetts saw significant jumps in their unemployment rates in December and are now either at or above where those rates were a year ago.

The Greater Worcester area saw a significant increase in its unemployment rate in December, as the rate rose to 3.6% from 2.9% in November, according to the data released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Department of Economic Research.

The Worcester rise mirrored statewide numbers, which saw a similar increase from 2.8% to 3.5%. Both the Greater Worcester and statewide rates are now above where they were a year ago: Worcester had 3.4% unemployment in December 2022 while Massachusetts was at 3.3%.

Other areas of Central Massachusetts saw similar increases in unemployment in December:

  • In the Framingham area, the unemployment rate was 3%, increasing from November’s rate of 2.4%. In December 2022, the region had a 2.7% unemployment rate.
  • In the Leominster-Gardner area, the unemployment rate was 4.0%, one percentage point higher than the November rate of 3%. The region had a 4.0% unemployment rate in December 2022.
  • In the Athol area, the unemployment rate was 4.2%, a percentage point higher than November’s rate of 3.2%. In December 2022, the region’s rate was 4.1%.

The national unemployment rate was 3.7% in December.

An estimated 26,000 job seekers joined the state’s unemployment rolls in December, leading to an unemployment rate 0.2 percentage points higher than the rate of 3.3% in December 2022. 

Despite the increases in the unemployment rate, Massachusetts still saw an estimated increase of 4,300 jobs in December, leading to an over-the-year gain of 69,800 jobs.

In the Worcester region, an estimated 2,484 job seekers were added to the unemployment rolls, resulting in a rate that was 0.2 percentage points higher than the December 2022 rate of 3.4%.

Unemployment numbers are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in job levels and may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

New England city and town areas are a geographic and statistical entity defined by the U.S. federal government. 

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