Rich Honen from Phillips Lytle LLP joins us to discuss everything from the economy to the current state of the stock market to the attempts to limit unemployment.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance dipped by 5,000 last week from the week before, to 330,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That means claims remain at a low level not seen since January 2008.

Another measure, the "4-week moving average" that is supposed to give a broader look at the trend, declined by 8,250 — to 351,750.

According to state officials in Massachusetts, the unemployment rose to 6.7% in December, and for the Berkshires, the unemployment rate is now above the state average.

Although the numbers released by the State Executive Office of Labor and Workforce development are not seasonally adjusted, the Berkshires now face an unemployment rate at 6.6% That’s up half a percentage point from October and November, and the highest it’s been since February 2012.

The Vermont Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of one percentage point in December to 5.1 percent.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the recovery from the Great Recession has been slower than from past economic slowdowns, but progress is being made.

Weekly US jobless aid applications rise to 372K

Jan 3, 2013
Kathryn Decker / Flickr

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, though the winter holidays likely distorted the data for the second straight week.

The Labor Department says weekly applications rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 in the week ended Dec. 29. The previous week's total was revised higher.

Connecticut's Labor Department says the state's unemployment rate jumped to 9 percent in August amid a record one-month decline in the labor force.

The department announced Thursday that data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the state's unemployment rate increased half a percentage point from July to August, making it the largest monthly percentage point increase since 1976. Officials said the state lost 6,800 jobs from July to August.

The national unemployment rate in August was 8.1 percent.

The unemployment rate in New England climbed in July but remains below the national average.

The New England office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday the jobless rate in the six-state region was 7.1 percent last month, up from 6.8 percent in June.

Rhode Island's 10.8 percent unemployment rate is the highest in New England and the second highest in the U.S.

By contrast, Vermont's rate of 5 percent is the lowest in the region and the fifth lowest in the country.

The national jobless rate in July was 8.3 percent.

A jobs training program aimed at the so-called “skills gap” is being launched in western Massachusetts.  It’s a new effort to help the unemployed acquire the skills needed to land a job in the growing field of precision manufacturing.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

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.

New England's unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of a percentage point in May and is near its lowest level since January 2009.  WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The New England office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday the jobless rate in the region was 6.8 percent last month, down from 6.9 percent in April. Officials say it has fallen 1.1 by percent in the last year.

The national rate is 8.2 percent.

Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate in the region, at 11 percent, and the second highest in the United States. Nevada's is 11.6 percent.