Jobs picture brightens in Bay State

By Frank Quaratiello | The Boston Herald | October 19, 2012

The Massachusetts jobless rate rose for the third straight month in September to 6.5 percent — up from 6.3 percent in August — even as a separate survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the Bay State added 5,100 jobs.

Economist David Tuerck of Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute said “the report shows a modest improvement in the jobs picture.”

“Even though the unemployment rate went up slightly, from 6.3 percent to 6.5 percent, the number of people in the labor force rose by about 13,000, of which about half found new jobs and the other half started looking for jobs,” Tuerck said. “This increase in labor force participation is good news at the state level just as it is at the federal level.”

Northeastern University’s Alan Clayton-Matthews called the new numbers “a bit of a relief after last month’s report,” which showed the state losing jobs in August and the unemployment rate rising.

Yesterday, the BLS revised downward its job-loss estimate for August from 4,800 to 3,500 jobs.

Last month, the national jobless rate dropped below 8 percent — to 7.8 percent — for the first time in nearly four years, but Clayton-Matthews said “the economy is still a weak point for President Obama and Mitt Romney has been pouncing on that with great effect.”

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