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NEW: Unemployment Rate in Massachusetts Drops to 6.0 Percent

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 

Massachusetts unemployment fell to 6.0 percent in April, down a full percentage point from this time last year,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The latest April 2014 unemployment rate is also down .3 from March 2014, when it was 6.3%.  The April 2013 unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 7 percent.

On the jobs front however, preliminary estimates show that Massachusetts lost 1,600 jobs in April. Over the month, jobs were down 1,600 with private sector jobs down 3,000. 

Since April 2013, Massachusetts added a net of 46,200 jobs; with 49,400 jobs added in the private sector and 3,200 lost in the public sector. BLS also revised its March estimates upward to 9,200 jobs from the 8,100 jobs previously reported for the month.

April 2014 Employment Overview

Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 3,400 (+0.6%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 12,100 (+2.2%) jobs.

Financial Activities gained 400 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities added 200 (+0.1%) jobs.

Other Services added 400 (+0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services jobs are up 4,500 (+3.6%) jobs.

Construction gained 200 (+0.2%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Construction has added 2,600 (+2.2%) jobs.

Manufacturing added 100 (0.0%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Manufacturing lost 300 (-0.1%) jobs.

Leisure and Hospitality lost 4,300 (-1.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality added 500 jobs (+0.2%).

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 2,000 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 11,200 (+2.2%) jobs.

Education and Health Services lost 800 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 14,000 (+1.9%) jobs. 

Information lost 400 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information gained 4,600 (+5.4%) jobs.

Government added 1,400 (+0.3%) jobs over the month.  Over the year, Government lost 3,200 jobs (-0.7%).

Labor Force Overview

The April 2014 estimates show 3,295,600 Massachusetts residents were employed and 209,900 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,505,500. The April labor force decreased by 1,400 from 3,506,900 in March, as 9,700 more residents were employed and 11,100 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force was an estimated 20,700 above the 3,484,800 April 2013 estimate, with 53,500 more residents employed and 32,900 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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