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Massachusetts job seekers saw more openings during April

Date: 5/24/2011

May 23, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

GREATER SPRINGFIELD — Jobs in the Bay State have grown in the month of April and the trend extends to the greater Springfield area.

According to a statement released May 19 by Gov. Deval Patrick, the Commonwealth gained 19,500 jobs last month, which pushed the unemployment rate down to 7.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, is 9 percent. It reported the state unemployment rate decrease was 0.2 percent from March. The private sector added 20,500 jobs.

Kevin Lynn, the manager of business services at FutureWorks in Springfield, sent out a report the same day noting that FutureWorks members saw an 11 percent increase in finding employment.

"That translates to 280 people finding work in April compared to 252 in April 2010. Gains on the demand side were even more impressive with 566 job openings posted by employers in the month. That is an 80 percent jump from April 2010's 315 openings," Lynn wrote in his report.

He continued, "FutureWorks served 2,636 job seekers last month. That represented a 9 percent decrease from the 2,903 job seekers in April 2010. The number of unemployed job seekers served (2,372) fell 11 percent from April 2010 (2,653). The number of unemployment insurance claimants served (1,005) was flat with last year's 996."

Locally, the greatest number of jobs obtained by FutureWorks members was in manufacturing with accommodation and food service and professional scientific and technical services tied for second place.

Lynn told Reminder Publications the increase was part of a "solid trend" of job gains over the past nine months and credited much of the gains to "business confidence."

"They are finally starting to realize it's real to them," he said.

Lynn said the new manufacturing jobs were in the region's precision manufacturing sector. He noted that companies are posting more openings and they are being filled.

While there were increases in all the job sectors in the state, there were losses in the public sector. According to the state report, "Government lost 1,000 jobs (-0.2 percent) in April. Gains occurred in two of the three components as state government gained 500 jobs (+0.4 percent) and local government added 300 jobs (+0.1 percent), while federal government lost 1,800 jobs (-3.8 percent). Over the year, Government has lost 6,400 jobs (-1.5 percent) with 5,200 jobs lost (-10.3 percent) in federal government and 1,200 jobs (-0.5 percent) lost in local government, and jobs were unchanged in state government."

Patrick stated, "Today's job statistics serve as hopeful news once again that the Commonwealth is continuing its robust recovery. We have added jobs across nearly all sectors, and our unemployment rate has fallen more than a full point below the national average — signs that our record investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation are paying off. We also recognize that our work is not done, and that there are those out there still seeking a better way. For them, we continue to fight every day to ensure that everyone seeking a job can find one."

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