Tuesday October 23, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire County unemployment rate went back over the 6 percent mark in September, when it increased almost half a percentage point to 6.3 percent, according to state figures released on Tuesday.

Local unemployment was either at or slightly above 6 percent in June and July before it dropped to 5.9 percent in August. But last month's rate is the highest in the Berkshires since unemployment reached 6.7 percent in March.

The number of employed in Berkshire County dropped by 1,618 workers last month, while 206 more employees received unemployment benefits than in August, according to figures released by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Pittsfield area lost 500 jobs between August and September, a decrease of 1.4 percent. Employment in the Pittsfield area is down 1.1 percent over the last 12 months.

State unemployment is 6.4 percent, while the national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent. The local unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in September 2011.

Unemployment in the county's three labor market areas increased in September, with the biggest jump occurring in Pittsfield, where the rate went from 6.3 to 6.7 percent.

The unemployment rate in the cities of Pittsfield and North Adams also increased last month, and remains over the state rate in both municipalities. In Pittsfield, the rate increased from 6.7 to 7.2 percent, while in North Adams unemployment rose from 7.0 to 7.7 percent.