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Mass Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5 Percent, Adds 3,700 Jobs in June

Friday, July 18, 2014


Massachusetts' total unemployment rate in June decreased 0.1 percent to 5.5 percent.

This rate is the lowest it has been since August 2008. The total unemployment rate is down 1.6 percent from the June 2013 rate of 7.1 percent, according to early estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the Commonwealth added 3,700 jobs in June 2014 for a total of 3,409,500 jobs.

Since June 2013, Massachusetts has added a net total of 48,900 jobs: 49,400 in the private sector and 500 jobs in the public sector. 

BLS has also revised its May job estimates upward to 10,300 from the 9,100 gain previously reported for the month.

June 2014 Employment Overview

Three sectors reported job gains over the past month, one saw no change in jobs, and the other sectors all saw losses. Listed below are the gains or losses from this month to last, as well as the figures over the past year.

Education and Health Services gained 6,000 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 20,700 (+2.8%) jobs. 

Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 10,000 (+1.8%) jobs.

Financial Activities had no change in its jobs level over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities added 1,100 (+0.5%) jobs.

Manufacturing lost 1,100 (-0.4%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Manufacturing lost 1,600 (-0.6%) jobs.

Construction lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Construction has added 800 (+0.7%) jobs.

Leisure and Hospitality lost 900 (-0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality added 1,900 (+0.6%) jobs.

Other Services lost 900 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services jobs are up 2,300 (+1.9%) jobs.

Information lost 100 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information gained 4,300 (+5.0%) jobs.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 100 (0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 9,800 (+1.9%) jobs.

Government added 900 (+0.2%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Government lost 500 (-0.1%) jobs.

Labor Force Overview

The June 2014 estimates show 3,310,500 Massachusetts residents were employed and 191,000 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,501,500. The June labor force decreased by 500 from 3,502,000 in May, as 6,000 more residents were employed and 6,500 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force was an estimated 14,200 above the 3,487,300 June 2013 estimate, with 71,900 more residents employed and 57,700 fewer residents unemployed. 

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers.  As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different monthly trends.


Related Slideshow: New England States Battle Over Jobs

Here are several examples of business and job raiding by and against New England states, according to the Good Jobs First report,

Shell Game: Ending the Wasteful Practice of Subsidizing Companies that Move Jobs From One State to Another


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States pirating other states for existing businesses and jobs is nothing new.

The 1950s saw heightened concern about the growing number of footloose companies that were abandoning long-standing industrial locations in the north to take advantage of benefits being offered by states such as Mississippi. Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts decried southern “raiding,” especially in the textile industry. Organized labor took notice. In 1955, then-named American Federation of Labor published a pamphlet with the title “Subsidized Industrial Migration: The Luring of Plants to New Locations.”

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In Massachusetts, the free market-oriented Pioneer Institute likened interstate lures to “playing the lottery” in examining the National Establishment Time-Series Database for 1990-2007.

Although the Bay State has had a small net loss of jobs to interstate moves, it loses and gains jobs from mostly the same states (New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut all rank in the top 5 for both directions). In addition to some cautionary findings about the Bay State’s trends, the Institute concluded, “The majority of establishments that moved to the state did not receive special incentives from the state to do so. Therefore, public thinking and public policy with respect to economic development should be reoriented to place less emphasis on interstate relocation.”

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Ballooning state-budget deficits are costing millions of jobs, affecting every state, with no regard for region or corporate tax or incentive regimens.

For example, a study of job loss due to the growing trade deficit with China names New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado and Texas among the 10 most affected states - proportionally, and in that order. That should be a sobering fact for states such as New Hampshire (that so shamelessly pirates jobs from Mass.) and Texas (that openly lures companies from Mass. and other states).

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Several states have rules prohibiting subsidies for intrastate job relocations. Among them, are two in New England:

  • Connecticut:

o Enterprise Zone and Urban Jobs Tax Credits

o Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit

  • Maine:

o Employment Tax Increment Financing

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Several states have major state-subsidy programs with restrictions on intrastate job shifting. Among them, are two in New England:

  • Rhode Island:

o Corporate-income tax-rate reduction for job creation

o Enterprise-zone tax credits

  • Vermont:

o Economic-advancement tax incentives

o Employment-growth incentives

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In 2011, the Boston Globe published a profile of the State of New Hampshire’s top business recruiter, Michael Bergeron , labeling him a “full-time thief.”

Bergeron, who was said to have removed the state seal from his car to be less conspicuous when visiting prospects, claimed to have lured dozens of firms from Mass. to the Granite State. Brazenly, he posted the Globe profile on his agency website.

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In 2010, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell faced allegations of inciting a border war by writing to New York City-based hedge-fund managers.

“I am personally inviting you and a few of your colleagues to meet with me. We have much to discuss!” Rell added. “The meeting will be intimate, direct and private.”

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Art Imitating Life

Connecticut’s use of a tax credit to lure media-production companies was satirized, in 2011, in the I Heart Connecticut episode of the popular TV show “30 Rock.”


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