Job seekers look to make good impression at career fair (copy)

Job seekers wander through a career fair in 2019 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire County unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent in March, the lowest point since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The rate, continuing its downward trend, fell an additional seven-tenths of a percentage point, according to state figures released Tuesday.

Unemployment in the Berkshires was at 4.1 percent in March 2020, the month before the pandemic began to impact the local economy. 

The local rate still remains above the state rate, which also dropped seven-tenths of a percentage point last month, to 6.6 percent. The national unemployment rate is 6 percent. Berkshire unemployment, which was 8.8 percent in January, has been above 8 percent since August.

Although the county's total labor force declined slightly in March, the number of employed workers increased by 498, to 57,505, while the number of Berkshire residents receiving unemployment benefits dropped by 449, to 4,972, according to the figures released by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Similar trends were evident in the figures for the Pittsfield metropolitan area, the North Adams and Great Barrington labor market areas, and in the cities of North Adams and Pittsfield, where the unemployment rates all declined by more than half a percentage point in March.

In the city of North Adams, where unemployment was 10 percent in January, the jobless rate dropped from 9.6 percent in February to 8.9 percent in March. In Pittsfield, the jobless rate dropped by almost a full percentage point last month, from 9.7 percent to 8.8 percent.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-281-2755.