U.S. jobless rate climbs to 7.9 percent; 171,000 jobs added

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By Frank Quaratiello and Ira Kantor | The Boston Herald | November 2, 2012

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in October as the nation added 171,000 jobs and the presidential candidates were quick to jump on the economic news.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report also revised the number of jobs created in September to add another 34,000, increasing that figure to 148,000. The August jobs number was revised upward to show 192,000 jobs created.

Both President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney found something to shout to the rooftops on the campaign trail today.

In Springfield, Ohio, the president touted the report: “This morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months. … Our businesses have created nearly five and a half million new jobs. …. The American auto industry is back on top. Home values and housing construction is on the rise. We’re less dependent on foreign oil than any time in 20 years. Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is ending; al-Qaeda’s been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead.” Read More

Manufacturing a Mass. miracle

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By Barry Bluestone and Jerry Sargent | The Boston Herald | October 27, 2012

If you follow our state’s economic news, you’ve probably heard repeatedly how our innovative technology industries — mobile applications, cloud computing, biotech, medical devices — are fueling our recovery. Indeed, these sectors are thriving. So much so that you’ve probably also heard about the so-called “skills gap” — the lack of qualified professionals necessary to fill the growing number of high-quality jobs.

But lost beneath the tech headlines is another thriving sector facing the same challenge: manufacturing.

That’s right, the sector many gave up for dead when the mills closed last century is alive and well, employing a quarter of a million workers and growing. Quickly.

So quickly that a survey released earlier this month by the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University revealed these sobering facts:

  • Forty-three percent of the firms surveyed expressed substantial difficulty in recruiting skilled craftsmen;
  • Nearly a quarter worry about their ability to hire research-and-development manufacturing specialists;
  • Retiring workers could create another huge shortfall — as many as 100,000 experienced workers may leave the workforce over the next decade.

Read More

Jobs picture brightens in Bay State

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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.” Read More

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