Massachusetts: job creation up, unemployment down

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Massachusetts must be doing something right.

Perhaps the nation's most Democratic and liberal state, Massachusetts has experienced months of declining unemployment rates. The most recent data released by the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development shows that the Massachusetts unemployment rate declined again in April.

The seasonally adjusted rate was 6.3 percent. Just over a year ago, the figure was 7.5 percent, and the national figure stands at 8.1 percent.

Unemployment in Massachusetts has not been so low since before October 2008, when it was at 6.1 percent.

The administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, has focused on job creation, especially in the high tech and life sciences in sector.

"Massachusetts is leading the world in the life sciences thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure," Patrick said May 16 at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new facility. "I am proud of this investment and I look forward to seeing the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing create jobs and further strengthen our leadership in the life sciences." 

The MAB is described as the "only facility in the United States where startups will be able to test their biomanufacturing methods and bioproducts at every stage of development and access full-service support from business and marketing to pure science support - all under one roof. The MAB is designed to serve researchers and entrepreneurs as they develop products and methods that will reshape the fields of biotherapeutics, biomedicine and green chemistry."

The MAB, a new facility at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, is projected to create 120 construction jobs immediately and ten permanent jobs once it is built. Beyond that, the administrations hopes it will "strengthen Massachusetts' standing as a world leader in the life sciences industry." In so doing, it is hoped, the MAB will attract more high-tech jobs to the area.

The state labor office released May 22 employment data for the city, town, and metropolitan levels. This information portrayed an increase in employment in most areas. Unemployment was down in each of the state's statistical employment areas except for one, Amherst.

The figures also showed that the decline in unemployment was not simply due only to people having given up searching for jobs and dropping out of the labor force The state's count of jobs is measured in twelve different areas, and 11 of them saw seasonal increases in jobs. Eight of these twelve regions saw an increase in jobs over the year ending in April.

More than 10,000 jobs were created in the Massachusetts section of the Boston metropolitan area alone. Other areas also saw big increases, including Worcester, Mass., where nearly 4,000 jobs were created.

Patrick supporters argue that the state's success in job creation has been strengthened by an administration that works in partnership with the federal government, especially the Obama administration. For example, money from the Obama stimulus program was used to build a highway off-ramp leading directly to the park.

Governor Patrick's popularity extends beyond Massachusetts. Touring the country in support of his friend President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, Patrick has drawn huge crowds, especially in the South.

Photo: Gov. Deval Patrick, right of red jacket, pitches in at MAB groundbreaking. Office of Governor Patrick // CC 2.0

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  • As a small business owner in Massachusetts, I can attest that mine, like many other business, grows in spite of the government. Our economy is anchored by non profit institutions, that's why we haven't had as deep a recession as other parts of the country, not because of Deval and the incompetent fat cats on Beacon Hill robbing us blind to pay public housing directors hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our state government is a dysfunctional, wasteful, and bloated bureaucracy filled with hacks, cronies, and patronage. Anyone that tells you otherwise is ignorant. Crony capitalism is not what America needs at the federal level, and that's just what Obama wants to give us. The best example of this is Solyndra.

    Posted by George Farley, 05/27/2012 1:08am (2 years ago)

  • I afraid Gary Hicks is correct. The minority populations are not getting the benefit of any job creation.

    But the numbers as they stand don't tell the whole truth. I'll explain by using unadjusted data from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

    The city of Lawrence, the first minority majority city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the unemployment rate went down from 15.7% to 12.9%. Sounds like it's moving in the right direction, doesn't it?

    The reality is that the difference between the number of people working went up from 26,909 to 26,944. Yup, a whole whopping increase of 35 people. However, about a thousand left the labor market.

    Because there are fewer people in the labor market, people who still have no job and have quit looking, are underemployed or are off the unemployment rolls, the numbers look better.

    If Lawrence had the same number of people in the labor force as a year ago, unemployment would've gone down only one fifth of 1%.

    The labor force has shrunk in about 2/3 of all Massachusetts cities and towns. Jobless people are not being counted because they have given up looking for work.

    The jobless picture in Massachusetts, espeically among people of color, is not so rosy looking.

    Posted by José A Cruz, 05/26/2012 4:53pm (2 years ago)

  • being a former resident of boston, i have this awful gut-feeling that working persons of color didn't benefit too widely from any progress that was made.

    Posted by gary hicks, 05/25/2012 5:31pm (2 years ago)

  • Mr. Margolis the Boston Globe reported that the state of Massachusetts lost 143,000 jobs in the recession, which began in Massachusetts in May 2008, but has so far regained just 81,500 of those jobs . So presently we are still 60,000 short of the original figure from 2008. I also live in Boston. So can you be more specific on where these jobs are located?

    Posted by ismail, 05/23/2012 11:31pm (2 years ago)

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