Unemployment Rates Rise In Most Mass. Local Labor Markets

Jul 24, 2012

The Massachusetts economy,  which had been growing at a much faster rate than the nation’s as a whole is showing signs of slowing.  Experts believe the Baystate is being buffeted by forces beyond its borders.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

   A new report from the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Tuesday, said seasonally unadjusted  unemployment rates  rose in a majority of the state’s 22  local labor markets in June, reflecting a statewide slow down in permanent hiring.

   Unemployment rates  fell in Barnstable,  Fall River, Tisbury and Nantucket where there is traditionally strong hiring of summer time temporary workers. It was unchanged in Pittsfield, and up in the other 17 areas.

   The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in June at 6 percent, but it was in the face of  an estimated loss of  26 hundred jobs. It was the first month-to-month job loss reported in Massachusetts in seven months.

   Robert Nakosteen, a professor of  economics  at the Isenberg School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said the Massachusetts economy is still growing, but more slowly.

   Nakosteen  said a  number of factors are behind the slowdown in Massachusetts including a national recovery that is stalling, the crisis in Europe, which is where the largest share of Massachusetts exports go, and the year end political uncertainties over taxes and government spending.  It’s causing businesses large and small to think twice about expanding.

   The slowdown in hiring is evident at the Future Works Career Center in Springfield. The center’s manager for business services, Kevin Lynn says there was a 30 percent drop in job postings in June compared with a year ago.  And, there was a 38 percent drop in the number  of people reporting success in finding employment.

   Associated Industries of Massachusetts said its business confidence index for June, which is based on a survey of  its members, showed the second largest drop in 21 years.

   A report based on a  survey of economists by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, known as the Beige  Book concluded the New England economy continues to expand at a moderate pace.  But, it too noted that firms are  not hiring in substantial numbers due to uncertain future economic conditions.