GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 25, 2013

Jobless rate for city jumps to 7.7 percent

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Gloucester’s unemployment rate, just one month removed from an encouraging 15 percent drop that came with strings attached, bounced back upward in June in a jump that mirrored rising state numbers and increases in rates among other Cape Ann towns as well.

According to newly released figures from the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Gloucester checked in with a 7.7 jobless rate for the month of June, a jump from the 7.1 percent figure reported in May, and above the statewide jobless rate of 74 percent — itself a leap from the state’s May percentage or 6.7.

The city’s latest rate is also a leap higher than Gloucester’s 6.7 percent rate reported in June 2012, continuing a trend of running higher than the corresponding monthly 2012 figures for the fourth month in a row.

Gloucester is not alone. Each of Cape Ann’s three towns also posted rises in their unemployment rates between May and June as well:

Essex saw its rate rise from a May figure of 4.8 percent to a June percentage of 6.3 percent. That figure is also higher than the town’s June 2012 rate of 5.7

Rockport’s unemployment rate rose from 6.4 percent in May to 7.1 percent in June, hitting its highest level since March and soaring some 30 percent above the May 2012 mark of 5.4 percent.

Manchester saw its jobless rate rise from 5.1 percent in May to a June mark of 5.9 — again, higher than its June 2012 unemployment percentage of 5.4.

The hard numbers behind the Gloucester figures show that 1,213 city workers were unemployed in June, up from 1,109 reported as being jobless in May. But the state statistics also showed that more Gloucester workers had jobs in June as well — 14,635 compared to just 14,537 in May.

Those numbers are backed by a jump of more than 200 people added to the city’s documented labor force, from 15,646 to 15,848. That reverses a three-month trend showing a declining workforce that had raised a number of red flags over the positive May figures that, on the surface, showed such a significant unemployment decline.

The state’s Labor and Workforce Development reports — issued each month for the state, for each of its counties, and for all of its cities and towns — are based upon federal Labor Department figures that are able to track only the number of people who are unemployed within the context of the documented work force.

Because of that, many state and national analysts have often raised concerns that a drop in workforce figures signals that, while far more people remain unemployed, many have fallen off the unemployment benefit rolls and are therefore no longer statistically tracked.