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Pittsfield Gains Jobs But Unemployment Still Up

Tammy Daniels

BOSTON — The state's unemployment rate went up from November to December (8.3 to 91) but Pittsfield was one of three areas to see an increase in the work force and showed the highest over-the-month percentage increase in jobs.

However, the area's unemployment rate (not seasonly adjusted) jumped nearly a point, from 8.0 to 8.9 percent. In December 2008, the rate was 6.5 percent. The number of jobless increased by nearly 400, to 3,404. In the North Adams area, the jobless rate rose fro 9.1 to 10.2 percent.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that unemployment rates were higher in December than in November in all of the commonwealth's 22 labor-market areas. Statewide, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.3 percent in November to 9.1 percent in December.

Job gains were recorded in three of the twelve areas for which unadjusted job estimates were published. In addition to Pittsfield, the Framingham and Springfield areas added jobs. Over the year, all of the labor areas recorded increases in unemployment rates and job losses.

Statewide the seasonally adjusted December 2009 unemployment rate, released last week, rose from 8.7 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December. Statewide, the seasonally adjusted jobs estimate for December showed 8,400 jobs lost over the month. The unadjusted unemployment rates and jobs estimates for the labor markets may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

NOTES:  The January 2010 unemployment rate, labor force data and survey of jobs for Massachusetts will be released on March 4, 2010; local unemployment statistics will be released on March 9, 2010.  Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi. See the January, 2010 Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.

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State's Jobless Rate Rises in December

Staff Reports

BOSTON — The state's jobless rate jumped more than a half percent in December, from 8.7 to 9.4. That's still below the national rate of 10 percent for both November and December, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Jobs were down 8,400 for the month of December. At 3,164,000, jobs are down 66,200 or 2.0 percent from one year ago.

There's good news, though: manufacturing added 500 jobs last month, the second consecutive monthly jobs gain for this sector. Durable-goods jobs grew by 700, more than offsetting nondurable goods' 200 job loss. Still, manufacturing jobs, which are now at 266,900, are down 14,200 or 5.1 percent from one year ago.

Other sectors adding jobs were education and health services (the largest gain at 1,000, and third monthly consecutive monthly gain for 4,100 jobs since September); government (900); other services (800) and Financial Activities (300).

With 656,600 jobs overall, education and health services is the largest sector in Massachusetts, generating 13,300 jobs over the year.

Trade, transportation and utilities had the sharpest decline with 5,000, the fourth consecutive month of losses. Also showing losses were leisure and hospitality (3,400); construction (1,800); professional, scientific and business services (1,400, wiping out a gain of 1,500 in November), and information (300).

The labor force declined by 22,000 in December, with 43,100 fewer residents employed and 21,100 more residents unemployed. In December, 3,108,600 residents were employed and 323,200 residents were unemployed. At 3,431,800, the labor force was down 800 from December 2008 with 104,300 fewer residents employed and 103,500 more residents unemployed.  

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households, while the job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers.  As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different trends.

Local area unemployment statistics for December 2009 will be released on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010. The January 2010 unemployment rate will be released on March 4. Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi.

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Big Y to Workers: Take 'Vacation'

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Big Y Foods Inc. last week announced that it was asking its full-time employees to take voluntary layoffs. The Chicopee-based grocery chain sent a press release to certain media, it was reported in Masslive on Thursday. iBerkshires did not receive a statement from the company and a phone call to coporate headquarters on Tuesday to confirm if Berkshire County stores were included was not immediately returned.

The chain has three stores in Berkshire County: Adams, North Adams and Great Barrington. It operates 57 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

According to several media outlets that received the statement, the voluntary layoffs were to begin on Monday. The chain has 9,100 workers to did not say how many were full time or how many would be asked to take time off.

The chain closed its East Hartford, Conn., store a year ago, laying off 100 workers, and shed 300 more two months later, saying it was part of a new operational strcture.

According to the company's Web site, it was ranked the second largest employer in Western Mass. in 2006 by Business West and as the eighth-largest private company in the area by Boston Business Journal.

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October 2009 Unemployment Rates

Tammy Daniels

Massachusetts Jobs
(seasonally adjusted)
Graph of MA seasonal employment for the past yearGood news on the labor front: the state's unemployment rate continues to drop. Statewide, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate decreased from 9.3 percent in September to 8.4 percent in October. But that's still nearly double last year's rate overall.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development also reports that unemployment rates were lower in October than in September in 20 of the state's 22 labor market areas. The Amherst, Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, Peabody and Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner areas recorded the largest over-the-month unemployment rate declines. Two areas posted seasonal unemployment rate increases: Tisbury and Nantucket County. 

In North Adams, the rate dropped from 9.5 percent to 8.8 percent; last October, the rate was 5.8 percent. and the Pittsfield area saw a decline from 8.6 percent to 8 percent, compared to last October's 4.9 percent. More information can be found here.

Job gains were recorded in eight of the 12 areas for which unadjusted job estimates were published. The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area added the most jobs and had the highest over-the-month percentage increase in jobs. Job losses were recorded in four areas. Over the year, all of the labor areas recorded increases in unemployment rates and job losses.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted October 2009 unemployment rate, released last week, dropped from 9.3 percent in September to 8.9 percent in October and the seasonally adjusted jobs estimate for October showed 900 job losses over the month. The unadjusted unemployment rates and jobs estimates for the labor markets may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

The November 2009 unemployment rate, labor-force data and survey of jobs for Massachusetts will be released on Dec. 17, 2009; local unemployment statistics will be released on Dec. 22.

www.mass.gov/lmi

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