PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire County unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.2 percent in March, as the number of jobless residents broke the 5,000 mark for the second time in three months.
Local unemployment had dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.1 percent in February, as the number of unemployed fell from 5,533 to 4,967.
But the number of locally unemployed in March increased to 5,009 workers, according to figures released on Tuesday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Local unemployment is slightly higher than the state's seasonally unadjusted jobless rate of 6.8 percent, and a little lower than the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.
Unemployment in Berkshire County was also 7.2 percent in March 2012, but the number of unemployed workers was slightly higher than it was last month.
The unemployment rates for the county's three labor market areas were unavailable. The jobless rate increased slightly in the Berkshire's two cities last month, with unemployment in North Adams reaching 9.1 percent. Pittsfield's unemployment rate is 7.8 percent.
The figures released by the state on Tuesday are not seasonally adjusted which means they take into consideration seasonal construction jobs, and positions in the travel and tourism industry.