Local Unemployment Rates Rising. Should we be Concerned?

By Liz Berthelette

Preliminary April data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights a fourth-straight month of rising unemployment rates in Massachusetts. While the number of employed grew by more than 65,000 or 1.9% during the first fourth months of 2017, the labor force also rose at a steady clip. Comparing the Commonwealth to the greater United States it’s clear that Massachusetts ranks among a small number of states facing upward pressure on unemployment rates.

State UR

Despite this recent uptick, economic conditions remain favorable in Massachusetts. Rates are still 50 basis points below the national average and 160 basis points below the state’s 16-year average. Additionally, some of the areas contending with above-average unemployment, including Fall River and Lawrence, have started to see modest improvements.


If we were to look at employment among highly-skilled laborers Massachusetts is facing a dearth of qualified candidates; leaving unemployment rates among sought-after industries below average.



Liz Berthelette is NAI Hunneman’s Director of Research. You can learn more about here on her bio or follow her on Twitter at @liz_berthelette.

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