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Region registers job growth

Date: 6/21/2010

June 21, 2010.

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

According to the Patrick Administration, the employment picture in the Bay State continues to improve. And the job market in greater Spring-field is seeing some of that forward movement.

On June 17, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) reported that preliminary job estimates for May indicated that 15,800 jobs were added that month, with 7,000 in the private sector.

In Springfield, Kevin Lynn, the manager of business services for Futureworks Career Center, reported, "May marked the fifth consecutive month where we have seen gains in job openings versus the same month last year. May's 403 job openings posted was 90 percent above May 2009 (212) and up 28 percent from April (315). Not only are jobs getting posted, job seekers are finding work. FutureWorks Career Center members have reported they found 440 jobs in May. This is up 269 percent from May of last year when 119 people found jobs. It is also a 74 percent jump from April's 253 [who] entered employments."

Statewide, the 7,000 private sector jobs were mainly in the leisure and hospitality, education and health services and construction categories. There were 8,800 census workers hired by the federal government, creating a spike in the government category.

The state's unemployment rate was at 9.2 percent for May with the national rate of 9.7 percent.

Lynn said, "While the large job opening and hiring percentage gains are encouraging, it must be noted that we are making comparisons to an anemic 2009 labor market. Nevertheless, our local job situation continues to move in a positive direction in an economic recovery that is expected to be slow. The May average hourly wage at hire fell 38 cents an hour to $12.04 from a year ago. However, its 11-month average is a healthy $12.53 an hour. This figure includes both full-time and part-time jobs."

In the Springfield area the top 10 posting sectors by the number of openings were: healthcare and social assistance -- 104; public administration -- 45; educational services -- 42; retail sporting goods, books, music -- 41; manufacturing of metal, machinery, computer -- 34; professional, scientific and technical services -- 29; administrative support and waste management -- 25; accommodation and food services -- 14; other services -- 13; manufacturing of food, tobacco, textiles -- 11; and information -- 11.

There were sectors reporting job losses as well during May, according to the report from the EOLWD. Financial activities lost 1,200 jobs in May, after adding 3,000 jobs the previous two months with real estate and rental and leasing accounted for 75 percent of the losses.

Trade, transportation and utilities lost 1,100 jobs. This is the first monthly loss this year for this category, which gained 7,800 jobs from December through April.

Other services lost 500 jobs after losing a revised 200 jobs in April. Information lost 200 jobs in May. So far this year, this sector is down 300 jobs.

Professional, scientific and business services lost 200 jobs in May after gaining a revised 6,500 jobs in April and manufacturing lost 100 jobs in May after gaining a revised 1,100 jobs in April. Since January, manufacturing has gained 2,300 jobs with all of the gains in non-durable goods. Year to date, manufacturing jobs are down 6,900 with all of the losses in durable goods.