GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 18, 2013

Jobless rate for city tops 10% mark

In the same week the Gloucester City Council approved permits for a landmark waterfront development proposal, a new round of state figures released Friday shows the city’s unemployment rate leapt back over the 10-percent mark in January, crossing that threshhold for the first time in nearly two years.

The January statistics for cities and towns released Friday by the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show Gloucester with a jobless rate of 10.1 percent, well above the state’s overall January unemployment rate of 7.4 percent and Essex County’s 7.6 percent mark.

The new figure for the city also tops Gloucester’s own rate of 8.7 percent posted for December, and – for the second straight month – tops the level for the comparable rate for the same month a year earlier.

The city’s unemployment rate for January 2012 was listed at 9.9 percent, and the January 2013 figure is the city’s highest unemployment mark since the rate hit 11.2 percent in February 2011. Last year’s February rate was initially announced at 10.1 percent, but the state’s workforce development office later revised that figure to a mark of 9.7 percent.

Gloucester’s unemployment statistics also run higher than in other communities on Cape Ann. The January statistics for the three Cape Ann towns show:

Rockport posted a January unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, up from both its December mark of 7.5 percent and its January 2012 rate of 8.2 percent.

Essex is listed with a January jobless rate of 7.5 percent, up by 23 percent from December’s rate of 6.1 percent, yet improved slightly from a mark of 7.6 percent for January 2012.

Manchester posted a January 2013 unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, up from December’s rate of 5.5 percent yet — like Essex — down a tenth of a percentage point from its 6.6 percent rate of January 2012.

The hard numbers behind Gloucester’s latest unemployment jump, as reported by the state, show that the number of jobless Gloucester workers jumped from 1,396 in December to 1,631 in January – also the city’s largest single increase in that category in more than a year.

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