NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 20, 2013

State's unemployment figure exceeds nation's

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts unemployment rate rose above the national rate in November, the first time the Bay State has crested the national rate in more than six years.

“I think we’re very happy to see the nation as a whole is recovering,” Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein told the News Service. She said the national economy is “catching up with Massachusetts” and said the jobs report showed the state economy is growing at a “steady pace.”

The Massachusetts jobless rate ticked down from 7.2 in October to 7.1 in November while the national unemployment rate took a more precipitous drop from 7.3 percent in October to 7 percent in November.

The Massachusetts jobless rate is in the middle of the pack among states, ranking 30th in October. A year ago, the state’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent and the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

Though the unemployment rate has notched up since falling to 6.4 percent in April and May, the state has added jobs in recent months. In November the state added 6,500 jobs and revised estimates show 9,400 jobs added in October. The number of jobs in the state last month was 55,300 higher than a year earlier.

Falling behind the nationwide drop in the unemployment rate is an indication to some that the state’s approach toward taxation and business regulation has hampered business.

“We haven’t focused on our economy the way we should,” House Minority Leader Brad Jones told the News Service. He said, “The cost of doing business here on too many fronts is too expensive.”

Jones said state leaders have shown “hostility toward business,” citing Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed $2 billion tax increase, the more modest tax package that passed this summer, and the Senate’s passage of a minimum wage increase without concurrent reforms to unemployment insurance.

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