Massachusetts: job creation up, unemployment down

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