Berkshire unemployment reaches lowest level in nearly nine years


PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire County unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in May, the lowest level since December 2007, according to state figures released on Tuesday.

The monthly decline in the local rate was slight compared to April when Berkshire unemployment fell below 5 percent for the first time since last October, dropping a full percentage point to 4.7.

The last time local unemployment had reached 4.7 percent was last August, which had been the lowest level in seven years.

Local unemployment is still slightly higher than the unseasonally adjusted state rate of 3.8 percent (the seasonally adjusted rate is 4.2 percent), according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.

In the 15 municipalities that make up the Pittsfield metropolitan area, 1,100 jobs were added between April and May an increase of 2.6 percent. Over the last 12 months, 900 jobs have been added in that area, a jump of 2.1 percent. The Berkshire unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in May 2015.

Unemployment also dropped slightly in the Great Barrington, North Adams and Pittsfield labor market areas last month, and in the cities of North Adams and Pittsfield. The jobless rate in North Adams declined half a percentage point to 6.2 percent. Unemployment in Pittsfield is 4.6 percent.

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.


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