After declines, jobless rate in Mass. on the rise

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By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey | Worcester Telegram & Gazette | February 24, 2013

For more than two years starting in early 2010, the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell steadily, indicating that the economy was improving after a severe recession.

But recently, the trend has reversed. After falling to 6 percent in May and June of 2012, the unemployment rate ended the year at 6.7 percent.

In the Worcester metropolitan area, unemployment fell to 6.4 percent in April and May but rose to 7.2 percent by year’s end.

The reversal may be unwelcome, but it’s not entirely surprising, given the slowdown in economic growth during the second half of 2012, according to Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews. The Massachusetts economy grew just 1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, Mr. Clayton-Matthews reported in the journal MassBenchmarks. Read More

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

Regional economy still isn’t gathering steam

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By Dan O’Brien | The Lowell Sun | October 28, 2012

John Mattheos, owner of Salon Mattheos, has been building his brand in Lowell for 20 years. He’s seen strong economic times and weak ones.

Earlier this year, Mattheos took advantage of a still-depressed real-estate market to scoop up a foreclosed property on Rogers Street, then invested tens of thousands of dollars to renovate it into a salon.

“I grew up in this neighborhood, Belvidere, so I figured I would do really well here,” Mattheos said in a recent interview. “It’s been OK. But I really thought I’d be able to get to that next level by now.”

More than three years after the last recession (supposedly) ended, many businesses are just not seeing the strong comeback they anticipated would happen.

Because it really hasn’t happened.

A report released Friday from MassBenchmarks, a journal of the Massachusetts economy published by the UMass Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that economic growth in Massachusetts was a mere 1.9 percent during the third quarter. 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

Experts: Mitt Romney must maintain ‘energy’ to win

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By Hillary Chabot | The Boston Herald | October 5, 2012

Mitt Romney must stay on the attack and maintain his want-it-more hustle for the presidency if he wants to translate Wednesday night’s stunning debate performance into a game-changing swing-state boost and a groundswell of momentum that could sweep him into the Oval Office, said political strategists and observers.

“He’s got to remain visible and show a lot of energy,” said Tom Rath, one of Romney’s New Hampshire strategists. “Every candidate sooner or later must demonstrate that they could step in as president, and for the large part Romney passed that test.”

Romney, who hammered President Obama on sluggish job growth and the economy during their first faceoff, could have a chance to step up his attacks today as a new jobs report comes out. The unemployment rate has hovered at a dismal 8.1 percent. Read More

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