BOSTON — Massachusetts has added jobs for the fourth straight month, a sign that it may be recovering from financial downturn
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday that preliminary job estimates for May count 3,182,400 jobs in Massachusetts with 15,800 jobs added this month – including 7,000 in the private sector. The state unemployment rate remained at 9.2 percent, below the national rate of 9.7 percent.
Local statistics will be available June 22.
The private sector added 7,000 jobs mainly in the Leisure and Hospitality, Education and Health Services and Construction (4,800 since March) sectors. Leisure and Hospitality added 4,700 jobs (plus-1.6 percent) in May with job gains in Accommodation and Food Services more than offsetting the losses in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (500 jobs). It's the second time in three months jobs have been added to Leisure and Hospitality.
Over-the-year, Education and Health Services added 18,300 jobs (plus-2.8 percent) with job growth in both Educational Services and Health Care and Social Assistance.
Government added 8,800 jobs mostly because of the federal government's temporary hiring for the Census. The May job growth follows on a revised 18,700 (previously reported as 19,100) jobs gain in April, of which 15,800 were private sector jobs.
Even with this latest revision, last month's jobs gain remains the highest jobs growth figure in 17 years. The March to April 2010 private sector gain was 15,800 jobs, the largest over the month private sector jobs gain in 11 years.
Since December 2009, the state has added 44,800 jobs with 34,500 or 77 percent of these jobs gains occurring in the private sector. Jobs growth has occurred in seven of the nine private sectors year-to-date. Education and Health Services added the most jobs, Professional, Scientific and Business Services recording the largest percentage gain in jobs, and the Construction sector and the Retail and Wholesale Trade industries gained jobs.
The May estimates show 3,165,900 Massachusetts residents were employed and 320,400 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,486,400. The labor force is 11,400 above last year's level, with 23,100 fewer residents employed and 34,300 more residents' unemployed than one year ago. Totals may not add exactly due to rounding.
Year-to-date, job growth has extended into most sectors. Trends for jobs, the unemployment rate and unemployment insurance claims figures are encouraging signs of economic improvement for the state.
BOSTON — Unemployment has dropped statewide by nearly a point since February, from 10.0 to 9.3. Berkshire County's rate is slightly above the state average at 9.6 percent, up from 8 percent in December. These rates are not seasonally adjusted.
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that unemployment rates were lower in March than February in all of the commonwealth's 22 labor market areas. Twenty of the labor market areas also had lower unemployment rates in February than in January.
The Pittsfield Metropolitan Area, which includes a few neighboring North County towns, posted a jobless rate of 9.8; with a workforce of 38,895, some 3,809 are still out of work. North County continues to flag behind with a jobless rate of 10.4 percent; some 1,850 of its workforce of 17,729 are unemployed.
Over the year, the unadjusted unemployment rate is up 1.1 percent from the 8.2 percent rate in March 2009.
Job gains were recorded in all of the 12 labor areas in March, with Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area added the most jobs over the month. Over the year, the Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury and Barnstable areas gained jobs, the remaining 10 areas lost jobs. Over the year, unemployment rates were up in all of the labor market areas for which rates are published.
The seasonally adjusted statewide March 2010 unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, released on April 15, was down from the 9.5 percent rate in February 2010. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate for March 2010, also released on April 15th, showed a gain of 7,600 jobs over the month.
The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.
NOTES: The 2009 rates have been revised with this release. Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi. See the Revised March, 2010 Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.
Berkshire County WIA Time Frame: March 2010
Not Seasonally Adjusted Data
Christine Hoyt of the Berkshire Chamber, right, speaks with Linda M. Alfonso, left, a consultant with BeautiControl and others after Alfonso provided a sample hand massage.
About 250 people attended the job fair sponsored by the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield on Thursday. That figure was lower than last year — during the depths of the recession — but the good news was that the number of employers and employment resource services was up.
Christine Hoyt, the chamber's director of programs and events, said the turnout was good on both sides. "We had more than 40 employers, a little more than last year," she said. "Employers were satisfied with the good quality of the job seekers."
The excellent weather, along with the economy's slow emergence from the financial crisis, may have played a factor in the about average attendance, said Hoyt.
Employers ranging from LTI Smartglass, Interprint, Williams College and Norman Rockwell were on hand offering opportunities for the right candidates. iBerkshires' sister site, BerkshireJobs.com, also had a booth.
Baldwin took to the airwaves last Friday to explain the circumstances that landed him prison.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The negative press on the principals isn't affecting Friday's Berkshire Job Summit in Pittsfield.
Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management said Wednesday afternoon that a flurry of RSVPs this week had bumped the number of attending to more than 180.
"I've had more phone calls about Money Management in the last week than the last three months," he said. "It turned out pretty good."
The summit, focusing on the role of employers job creation rather than employment agencies, brings CNBC's senior analyst Ron Insara, Robert H. Nelson and P. Edgardo Tarratts of the Small Business Administration and marketing strategist Jonathem Salem Baskin.
Harris and fellow organizer Sherman Baldwin of WBRK talk show "TalkBerkshires" were the subject of an article in last Friday's Berkshire Eagle that delved into the two men's legal peccadillos.
Harris was ordered to pay $2 million to former employer Dion Money Management over a client list used to establish his business and was charged with misdemeanor assault over a bar fight in 1994.
Baldwin defrauded investors of funds to ensure the completion of the cult hit film "The Crow" after the accidental death of its star Brandon Lee. The film went on to make $400 million worldwide. Baldwin, however, ended up in federal prison in 1999 for nearly a year and is still paying off a fine.
Harris described the story as an insult. "It was presented like it was new news. It was stuff that was already talked about. It was literally old news."
Neither man has disputed the main facts of the article but both were concerned over its effect — and a paired story on local skepticism — on the summit.
On Friday, after a "press conference" discussing the past charges against him on his radio show, Baldwin said most of the response had been positive. (The entire program, with responses by Eagle writer Clarence Fanto can be downloaded here.)
Representatives of the Small Business Administration debated declining their invite to the summit because of the negative press but have remained on board, said Harris.
Both said they remained committed to $1.5 million in equity investment to the right business - Harris with $1 million through BMM and Baldwin in $500,000 in advertising. Harris said they haven't back away from the investment but did say it was pulled from ads because they focus was too much on them and not on the summit.
Harris is focused on the morning summit that will take the more than a 100 business leaders through Insana's analysis of current conditions, the SBA's available programs and how to bring it all together in branding with Baskin.
"People aren't going to create jobs to makes themselves feel good, they're going to create jobs because their business in growing," he said. "By being brave, by natural self-interest, jobs will be created.
"What we need to do is have a conversation with people on how to make 2010 a good year."
As for the fallout about revelations of his past: "People are calling and they're not saying 'you're a jerk.'"
Note: The Eagle stories will disappear behind a paywall so read them quick.
The state House budget committee on Thursday approved an unemployment insurance rate freeze bill that aides say would hit employers with per-employee average increase of $110 per year but spare businesses from a rate schedule with even higher rates. More Massachusetts residents have been relying on the fund during the recession for cash benefits and the fund will need years of federal loans to keep benefits flowing.
Unemployment in Massachusetts hit 9.4 percent in December. Patrick administration officials said last year they were considering a rate relief plan but no proposal has been filed and steep unemployment insurance rate hikes are scheduled to trigger in the spring, unless legislators and Patrick agree to a new schedule.
"Freezing the rate is an appropriate step at least based on the numbers that I've seen," John Regan of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, an employer trade group, told the Statehouse News Service on Thursday morning. "We'd clearly like to see systemic reform as well, not that we're ungrateful for the step that's being taken." The House gave the bill initial approval Thursday morning and it could receive further attention in the afternoon.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will keep you informed on this topic. If you have any questions, call 413-499-4000.