GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 2, 2013

City's jobless rate falls 15%, but ...

Gloucester’s unemployment rate fell by more than 15 percent between April and May, new state labor figures show.

But, while noting a sharp drop in the number of people who were unemployed as the unofficial summer season kicked in, the same statistics also show troubling declines in the number of people in the city’s work force, and even a slight decline in the number of those holding down jobs.

The city’s unemployment rate for the month of May was pegged at 7.1 percent in the latest figures released by the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and that’s a drop of 15.5 percent from the updated 8.4 percent figure posted for April.

The May rate remains above the statewide unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, though much closer than the 30 percent gap between the state and city jobless rate figures that had carried through first four months of the year. But that’s due in part to the fact that the state jobless rate in May rose from April’s 6.3 percent to 6.8, matching the figures for February and March.

Gloucester’s rate also remained slightly above the city’s jobless mark of 7.0 percent recorded for the same month a year ago, in May 2012, though it pulled even with the Essex County May rate at 7.1. On Cape Ann, Gloucester’s rate remained higher than those of the surrounding towns, according to the state labor and workforce statistics.

Rockport recorded a May unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, down from April’s mark of 6.7 percent, but well above the 4.8 percent mark for May 2012.

Essex’s jobless rate for May was pegged at 4.7 percent, down from both its 5.4 percent figure for April and, more encouraging, from its 5.7 percent mark in May of a year ago.

Manchester’s May rate was reported at 5.2 percent, down from its 5.5 percent rate in April, and even with the 5.2 percent reported for May 2012.

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