PITTSFIELD -- Due partly to a significant increase in the number of jobless residents, the Berkshire County unemployment rate jumped more than half a percentage point in December to 6.8 percent, according to figures released by a state agency on Tuesday.
The county's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in both October and November as the number of jobless residents remained the same at 4,359. But in December, the number of unemployed in Berkshire County increased by 517 workers to 4,876.
The number of unemployed in the Berkshires is now the highest it has been since last February.
The county rate is also slightly higher than the seasonally unadjusted state unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. The national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent.
Unemployment also increased by over half a percentage point in the Great Barrington, North Adams and Pittsfield workforce areas last month. Unemployment in the Pittsfield and North Adams areas is over 7 percent.
In Berkshire County's two cities, unemployment in North Adams rose almost a full percentage point to 8.2 percent in December, while the jobless rate in Pittsfield jumped half a percentage point to 7.6 percent.
The numbers released on Tuesday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development are not seasonally adjusted which means that take into account short-term employment trends such as jobs in the travel and tourism industry and construction positions. They may show different levels and trends than the state's seasonally adjusted job estimates.