Berkshire unemployment rate ticks up slightly to 5 percent

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PITTSFIELD — Following two months below the 5 percent mark, the Berkshire County unemployment rate has reached that threshold again in October.

The county's jobless rate ticked up slightly from 4.8 to 5.0 percent last month, according to statistics released by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday.

It was the second consecutive slight monthly increase in the Berkshire unemployment rate since August, when the jobless rate hit 4.7 percent, a seven-year low.

October's local rate is slightly higher than the state unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The national unemployment rate also is 5.0 percent.

Berkshire unemployment was 5.3 percent in October 2014. The local rate has been below 6 percent since March, and under 5 percent this year in April, May, August and September.

In October, Berkshire County's total labor force increased slightly to 64,139 workers, while the number of employed rose by 178 workers to 60,951. The number of county residents receiving unemployment benefits rose by 122 in October to 3,188, the highest total since July. The number of county residents collecting unemployment benefits in September, 3,066, was the lowest total this year.

Unemployment in the Pittsfield and North Adams labor market areas rose slightly last month to 5.1 and 6.0 percent, respectively. Unemployment in the Great Barrington labor market area remained at 3.5 percent.

In the Berkshire's two cities, the jobless rate rose slightly in both North Adams and Pittsfield to 7.0 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Statewide, seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates dropped in eight labor market areas, increased in six others and remained the same in 10 including the Pittsfield metropolitan area, which includes Berkshire County.

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

The labor force, unemployment rates and jobs estimates for Massachusetts is based on different statistical methodology specified by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.


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