Lawrence seeks job growth, but unemployment remains elevated

Lawrence has a reputation for poverty and high unemployment, but the truth is more complicated — at least according to research by Barry Bluestone, an economist at Northeastern University who’s examined the city for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.

“Lawrence has actually been fairly successful relative to other working cities — or Gateway Cities, these older industrial cities — in creating jobs,” Bluestone says.

Between 2001 and 2013 — the latest data Bluestone offers — the number of jobs in Lawrence increased by 8 percent.

Jobs increased by less than 1 percent statewide, over the same 2001-2013 period, according to Bluestone.

“So, Lawrence, in a sense, was doing eight times better than the state,” Bluestone explains. “The problem is that as it was creating many of these jobs, many of them did not go to Lawrence residents.”