Berkshire jobless rate rises slightly in June to 5.6%
PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire unemployment increased slightly in June after reaching its lowest point in six years in May.
The local jobless rate remained less than 6 percent for the second straight month, but increased a tenth of a percentage point to 5.6 percent, according to figures released by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
The slight increase is due mostly to a rise in the number of county residents receiving unemployment benefits, which rose by more than 300 workers in June to 4,100.
State unemployment in June is also 5.6 percent. The national unemployment rate is 6.1 percent. Unemployment in the Berkshires was 7.1 percent in June 2013.
Locally, the county's total workforce increased by 3,000 workers in June to 72,681, the highest level in 13 months. The number of employed workers is above the 68,000 mark for the first time since last July.
Unemployment in the county's three labor market areas increased by a tenth of a percentage point in the Great Barrington and Pittsfield areas last month, but by almost half a percentage point to 7.2 percent in the North Adams area.
In the county's two cities, unemployment rose by a tenth of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in Pittsfield; and by two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.1 percent in North Adams.
Statewide, June unemployment rates increased in 19 of the state's labor market areas, decreased in two others, and remained the same in one, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nine of the 12 areas for which the state keeps job estimates recorded seasonal gains in June, including Pittsfield, which added 1,400 jobs between May and June, an increase of 3.9 percent. Over the last 12 months, the Pittsfield area has added 200 jobs, an increase of 0.5 percent.
The figures are not seasonally adjusted, which means they take into account seasonal construction jobs and positions in the travel and tourism industry.
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