Berkshire County jobless rate ticks up in July


Unemployment figures for July are up slightly in Berkshire County areas, while the statewide unemployment rate also ticked up a bit during the same period.

But, compared to a year ago, both local and statewide numbers show significant job growth.

In a report released by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Pittsfield's unemployment rate hit 6 percent in July.

With a July labor force of 39,875 workers in Pittsfield, 37,476 people were employed, and 2,399 were not, resulting in a 6 percent unemployment rate. The June unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. The July 2013 unemployment rate was significantly higher at 7.2 percent.

According to Ann Dufresne, spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Workforce Development, the number of workers in Pittsfield in July increased by 772, while the number of unemployed people increased by 128.

She noted that many of the job gains in Pittsfield were in the leisure and hospitality industry, which gained more than 700 jobs.

In North Adams, with a workforce of 17,275 people, 15,980 of them were employed and 1,295 were filing unemployment claims. That comes to an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, up from a June rate of 7.2 percent, and down from 7.9 percent in July 2013.

In Great Barrington, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly. With 17,014 people in the workforce, 16,375 were employed, with 639 people out of work. The July unemployment rate of 3.8 percent was up from 3.7 percent in June and down from a July 2013 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate in July was 6.1 percent, up from 5.6 percent in June and down from July 2013 when it was 7.3 percent. The rate is below the 6.2 percent national unemployment rate. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a gain of 13,800 jobs in July and a yearly gain of 67,300 jobs.

The annual decrease in unemployment, Dufresne noted, is a positive sign.

"That tells us we're headed in the right direction," she said. "Gov. Patrick is cognizant of the fact that the employment rate growth is not being seen in all regions of the state, and will continue with targeted investments in gateway cities, education, innovation and infrastructure so every area of the state can enjoy the same level of recovery from the Great Recession."

The figures are not seasonally adjusted, which means they take into account seasonal construction jobs and positions in the travel and tourism industry.

To reach Scott Stafford:,
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 227.
On Twitter: @BESStafford


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