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Pittsfield Sees Job Gains Over Year

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
BOSTON — The Pittsfield metropolitan area had one of the biggest percentage gains in jobs over the past year, up 3.7 percent, as the state has continued to see a drop in unemployment rates.

Pittsfield's jobless rate (seasonally unadjusted) has dropped from 8.1 percent last November to 6.6 percent, below the state jobless rate.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday reported that the November seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were down over-the-month in 19 areas and up in three areas — Tisbury, Nantucket and Barnstable. Statewide, the November seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, down from 6.8 percent in October. Over-the-year the statewide rate was down 1.7 percentage points from the 8.1 percent rate recorded for November 2010. All 22 labor area rates were down over the year.

In November, over-the-month job gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Worcester, Framingham, Springfield, Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner, and New Bedford areas. Five areas posted job losses, including the Pittsfield, which shed 300 jobs.

Over-the-year, all 12 areas added jobs with the largest gains in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Worcester, Framingham and Springfield areas.  The largest percentage gains occurred in the Pittsfield, Worcester and Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton areas. 

Pittsfield Metro  
Total Employment
Over-the-year
Nov. 2010 35,600 8.2 % 1,300 job gain
Nov. 2011 36,900 6.6% up 3.7 %
The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate released on Dec. 15 showed a 5,000 over-the-month job gain. The seasonally adjusted statewide November unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent from the October rate of 7.3 percent, and was down 1.3 percentage points from the 8.3 percent rate recorded in November 2010. The national rate is 8.6 percent, down from 9.8 percent in November 2010.

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.

The December 2011 unemployment rate, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Jan. 19, 2012; local unemployment statistics will be released on Jan. 24, 2012. Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi. See the revised February 2011 Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.

pittsfiedl   total employment nov. 2010  35,600  nov. 2011  36,900  OTY 2010 1300 jobs for 3.7 percent


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Adams Co-Op, South Adams Bank Merger Approved

Staff Reports
ADAMS, Mass. — Adams Co-Operative Bank and South Adams Savings bank received federal and state approvals to merge.

  The Federal Deposit Insurance Fund and the state Division of Banks and Depositor's Insurance Fund gave the banks notification of the approval on Dec. 9. The new Adams Community Bank will be a $400 million entity of two of the county's oldest community banks.

The merging was announced in September.

"This is an early Christmas present for both banks," said Joseph Truskowski Jr., president and CEO of Adams Co-Operative Bank, in a statement. "We anticipated receiving the news but not all final approvals until after the holidays."

The merger is expected to be completed in early 2012. Adams Community Bank will now consist of seven full-service offices spanning across the county and no jobs are expected to be eliminated, according to banking officials. The boards of trustees for each bank will create one 20-person managing board for the new bank.

"We will now dedicate our full attention to developing our products and signage for Adams Community Bank so it’s a seamless transition for our customers," Charles P. O'Brien, president and CEO of South Adams Savings Bank, said in the state. "Since voting on the new name of the institution in October, we have been developing the brand elements - particularly the Adams Community Bank's logo."

Adams Co-Operative Bank, a state-chartered co-operative bank founded in 1895, has $196 million in assets and three offices. South Adams Savings Bank, founded in 1869, has $197 million in assets and four offices. Together the banks employ about 90 people.
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Treasury Halts Wasteful Presidential Coin Program

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
Taxpayers — and Crane & Co. — can sigh in relief that the unwanted and unloved dollar coin is kaput.

The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday announced it has suspended the program.

Sen. Scott Brown, who with Sen. John Kerry pushed a bill earlier this year to end the program, said the move will save taxpayers at least $50 million.

"For decades, special interests have pushed the wasteful dollar-coin program on the American people," he said. "They readily admitted that Americans would only use dollar coins if the popular dollar bill was eliminated — a move that would have wiped out hundreds of Massachusetts jobs. I introduced legislation to stop the coin charade and President Obama's actions today will accomplish that goal."

More than a $1.4 billion in coins have been piling up in vaults, costing millions in storage for hard money Americans won't use. Banks have been returning some 40 percent of unused coins to the Federal Reserve. The program was to run through at least 2014 and honor every deceased president (they're only up to James Garfield); a limited number of coins will be produced for collectors.

Neal S. Wolin, deputy secretary of the Treasury, posted this on the Treasury page on Tuesday:

"One area where there's an additional opportunity to cut taxpayer costs is reducing the current surplus inventory of $1 coins. That's why we're announcing today that — effective immediately — the United States Mint is suspending the production of new Presidential $1 Coins for circulation."

That's good news for Crane in Dalton, the only maker of U.S. currency paper.
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Common Good Finance Gets Google Grant

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
ASHFIELD, Mass. — The nonprofit Common Good Finance has received a more than a $100,000 a year in free advertising and other services through a Google Grant.

The organization is set to launch its R Credit initiative next year in Greenfield. The "R" in R Credits stands for "Regenerative, Revolutionary, and taking Responsibility" for the local economy.

"It combines features from successful alternative credit systems, adding technology innovations and procedures to ensure a secure, profitable experience for everyone," said William Spademan, president of Common Good Finance, in a statement.

The system is somewhat similar to Berkshares in that it promotes the use of local currency but is designed to be far more reaching in terms of democratic participation in its uses and equal exchange with dollars. 

More information: www.commongoodfinance.com or call 413-628-3336.
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NBT Will Open in Former Lenox Legacy Branch

LENOX, Mass. — NBT Bank will open a fifth location in Berkshire County at 2 Holmes Road.

This new location follows the recent opening of four branches in Great Barrington, Lee, North Adams and Pittsfield. Renovations at the former Legacy Banks facility on Holmes Road are currently under way. It is anticipated that the new branch will open in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer full branch-banking capabilities, including drive-up teller service, 24-hour ATM, safe deposit boxes and night depository.

"We are excited to be expanding our presence in Berkshire County," said NBT Bank Commercial Banking President Jeffrey Levy. "The recent hiring of Daniel Kinney as Massachusetts area manager and the opening of this new office in Lenox provides individuals and businesses greater access to our unique brand of community banking and symbolizes our commitment to growth in western Massachusetts."

Levy is a member of NBT Bank's executive management team and also serves as regional president for the bank in the Capital Region of New York.

NBT Bank provides personal banking, asset management and business services. The independent community bank, based in Norwich, N.Y., has a total of 93 offices in upstate New York, Vermont and Western Massachusetts. NBT Bank's parent company, NBT Bancorp Inc., had assets of $5.5 billion as of Sept. 30, 2011.
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