GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 28, 2013

Jobless rate for city tops '11 marks

The city of Gloucester’s unemployment rate jumped by nearly a full percentage point in December to 8.8 percent, well above the state’s 6.6 percent mark.

And the December jobless rates for Gloucester and two of Cape Ann’s three towns all rose to figures higher than their marks for December 2011, reversing what had been a nearly year-long trend that had suggested the city and the region were making positive strides on the jobs front.

Only Essex finished December and thus the calendar year with a better unemployment figure than in December 2011, with a mark of 5.9 percent compared to 2011’s December mark of 6.1.

The December figures for cities and towns released Friday by the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development showed that Gloucester’s rate of 8.8 percent marked a jump of more than 11 percent upward from the city’s November jobless rate of 7.9 percent. And it proved higher than the December 2011 figure of 8.6 percent — the only time in 2012 that Gloucester’s unemployment rate had risen above the corresponding month from the previous year.

Among Cape Ann’s towns:

The Essex rate of 5.9 percent also marked a rise from the November unemployment rate of 5.4 percent despite placing below the December 2011 mark of 6.1. The 5.9 percent figure was also the highest since the town had a March rate of 6.8 percent. That trend also played out in Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester, all of which showed significantly lower jobless rates through roughly April to October due to seasonal changes and the tourism season.

Rockport posted a December and year-end jobless rate of 7.4 percent, up from the November rate of 7.2 percent and above the December 2011 rate of 7.0.

Manchester checked in with a December unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, up from a mark of 5.1 percent in November, and above the 4.9 percent mark that closed out 2011 in December of that year.

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