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.