New Bedford, MA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth Marks Month, Offshore Wind a Key Player

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New Bedford’s December 2023 jobs report paints a picture of continued economic expansion, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.1% and job growth outpacing the national average. While some industries saw minor contractions, overall hiring remained positive, suggesting a resilient local economy.


  • Unemployment rate: Remained low at 3.1%, unchanged from November and below the national average of 3.5%.
  • Job growth: Added 200 jobs in December, bringing the total number of employed residents to 80,300. This represents a 0.25% increase over November and a 1.3% increase year-over-year.
  • Top growing industries: Construction (+1.2%), professional and business services (+0.8%), and leisure and hospitality (+0.7%) led the way in job creation.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Construction: Fueled by ongoing projects like the New Bedford Harbor dredging and the SouthCoast Wind offshore wind farm, construction continued its upward trend, adding 100 jobs in December.
  • Professional and business services: This sector saw growth in areas like healthcare administration, education, and legal services, adding 60 new positions.
  • Leisure and hospitality: With the holiday season in full swing, restaurants, hotels, and other tourism-related businesses added 50 jobs.
  • Growing occupations: Registered nurses, wind turbine technicians, software developers, marketing specialists, and customer service representatives were among the most in-demand positions in December.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector shed 30 jobs in December, primarily in the textile and apparel industries.
  • Retail trade: Retail trade lost 20 jobs, reflecting national trends of online shopping and changing consumer habits.
  • Shrinking occupations: Retail salespeople, cashiers, and administrative assistants saw declining job numbers in December.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Unemployment rate: Down from 3.2% in December 2022, indicating a tightening labor market.
  • Job growth: Up from 1.0% year-over-year, highlighting a stronger pace of job creation compared to the previous year.
  • Top growing industries: Construction (+4.3%), professional and business services (+2.8%), and education and health services (+2.5%) saw the most significant growth compared to December 2022.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Unemployment rate: Up slightly from 2.8% in November, a minor fluctuation within a normal range.
  • Job growth: Positive compared to November’s flat performance, suggesting a return to upward momentum.
  • Top growing industries: Construction (+1.2%) and leisure and hospitality (+0.7%) showed the most significant gains compared to November.

Future Outlook:

The outlook for New Bedford’s job market remains positive. The continued development of the offshore wind industry is expected to be a major driver of growth, along with ongoing investments in infrastructure and healthcare. However, potential challenges like rising interest rates and inflation could dampen economic activity in the coming months.

10 Growing Occupations in New Bedford (December 2023):

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Wind Turbine Technicians
  3. Software Developers
  4. Marketing Specialists
  5. Customer Service Representatives
  6. Physical Therapists
  7. Financial Analysts
  8. Accountants and Auditors
  9. Home Health Aides
  10. Teachers

10 Companies Hiring Now in New Bedford (as of February 1, 2024):

  1. SouthCoast Wind
  2. Trinity Solar
  3. New Bedford Harbor Development Commission
  4. Ashley Furniture
  5. Partners Healthcare
  6. MassHire South Coast Workforce Board
  7. BayCoast Health
  8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  9. The City of New Bedford
  10. New Bedford Public Schools