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October 8, 2019

Mixed labor results for Worcester County in first quarter

Photo | Grant Welker Riverbridge Village, a development in Berlin, includes apartments under construction. The Worcester County labor market was slow to add new jobs in the first quarter of the year.

Worcester County trailed state and national averages in employment growth in the first quarter but did better on wage growth, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.

Employment grew by 0.7% year-to-year in the first three months of 2019 in Worcester County, placing it behind both Massachusetts at 1.1% and the United States average at 1.4%. Worcester County tied for fourth among the state's nine largest counties the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured, with Boston-centric Suffolk County providing much of the state's growth.

Average weekly wages provided a somewhat better picture.

Median wages of $1,121 in Worcester County were up 3.0% from the prior year, outpacing the national rate of 2.8% but behind the Massachusetts rate of 3.5%. Worcester County landed eighth of the state's nine largest counties in wage growth, ahead of only Suffolk County, where wages already double the national median.

Massachusetts had the country's third-highest weekly wage in the first quarter, at $1,561. That distance from the national median of $1,184 is only expanding, with Massachusetts wages growing at the seventh-highest rate in the country.

In the latest unemployment numbers from August, Massachusetts had a rate of 2.9%, and the Worcester metropolitan area 3.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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