On the surface, there are a lot of positive signs on the Gloucester job front, with stalwarts such as Gorton’s, Gloucester Engineering, Varian/Applied Materials and Bomco Industries all reportedly adding jobs in 2011.
But that just makes the city’s year-end job numbers all the more troubling. For while Gloucester ran unemployment rates throughout the year below 2011’s comparable month-to-month figures, the fact is, it ended the year on a December jobless rate of 8.8 percent, up from the December 2011 rate of 8.6 That means the city actually lost ground on jobs in 2012, and that doesn’t consider that the city finished December with a jobless rate a full 33 percent higher than the state norm.
Losses within the fishing industry are no doubt a big part of those figures, with NOAA’s job-killing catch share policies leading to a federally declared economic disaster in the northeast fishery.
But the state jobless numbers also make it clear that the city must further boost its focus on economic development, from the waterfront up. And the dawn of a new year is a good time to start.