GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 13, 2012

City sees new gains in jobs

Gloucester's 6 percent rate better than state's, county's

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — For the second month in a row, Gloucester’s unemployment rate has achieved a new four-year low.

And the 6 percent jobless rate in June now being reported for the city by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Management marks both the first time in a year that Gloucester’s rate has improved to below the state average and the first time since June 2011 it has dipped below the overall mark for Essex County.

The state’s unemployment figures for individual cities and towns in the month of June show Gloucester with its 6 percent rate based on 941 people being out of work from a documented work force of 15,602.

Those numbers mark improvements on all counts from the month of May, when state workforce and labor statistics showed Gloucester’s jobless rate at 6.3 percent, with 972 people jobless from a work force of 15,446. The June numbers also show that Gloucester has 14,661 people working, up by nearly 200 from the May figure of 14,474.

The monthly state report for individual communities emphasizes that the figures are “not seasonally adjusted,” and the June statistics mark the first from this year covering a month in which Gloucester’s and other Cape Ann communities’ summer workforce and employment opportunities would have been bolstered by, among other factors, seasonal jobs, returning students and new graduates entering the work force.

But the 6 percent unemployment figure is a full 25 percent better than the June 2011 figure of 8 percent, and marks the lowest jobless percentage since at least May 2008. While the state’s numbers do not specify any specific gains, the new figures come during a calendar year in which Gloucester Engineering, Varian Semiconductor Associates — now a division of California-based Applied Materials Inc. — and Bomco Industries have all reported job gains.

In addition, Gloucester’s 6 percent mark is better than the statewide unemployment figure of 6.3 percent, up from 5.8 percent mark in May, and the Essex County average of 6.6 percent, also an increase from the May rate of 6.2 percent. The Essex County numbers are fueled in part by a 13.6 percent unemployment rate in Lawrence and a 7.6 percent mark in Lynn.

Among Cape Ann’s towns:

Essex posted a June unemployment mark of 5 percent, down from the 5.1 percent figure in May and down from a mark of 6.8 percent in June 2011.

Rockport showed a June jobless rate of 4.7 percent, up from 4.3 percent in May yet down from the 7.2 percent reported in June 2011.

Manchester recorded a June unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, up from both a 4.6 percent mark in June and a 4.8 percent rate in June 2011. The increase in the number of people documented in Gloucester’s workforce marks the first time since January that figure has showed a gain, with the June figure of 15,602 up from 15,446 in May.

The state’s monthly Labor and Workforce Development reports for cities and towns measure the number of unemployed in the context of the recognized work force — which does not account for those who have lost their jobs and have seen their unemployment eligibility expire. And analysts across the state and the nation have raised concerns that declining trends of overall workforce figures illustrates a gap that does not account for a number of people who are still jobless, but who have fallen off the unemployment rolls and are no longer tracked statistically.

In Gloucester’s case, the gain from May to June in the number of people employed — from 14,474 to 14,661, outstrips the number added to the documented workforce, which went from 15,546 to 15,602.

The latest Gloucester workforce number, however, remains below the 16,429 documented in July 2010.