New Bedford jobless rate lowest since 2008

Posted Nov. 25, 2014 @ 1:32 pm
Updated Nov 26, 2014 at 10:50 AM
NEW BEDFORD — The city’s over the month unemployment rate dropped by 20 percent in October, the best jobless numbers since August 2008.
The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the New Bedford unemployment rate at 8.9 percent, down from 10.6 percent last month, and 12.2 percent in October of last year.
Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, noted that the gap between New Bedford and Boston persists, but positive jobless numbers in recent months are a good sign.
“It’s a sign that the economy is starting to pick up a little bit, and that employers are starting to hire again,” Nascimento said.
The statewide unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in October, compared to 5.3 percent in Boston. Nascimento said efforts like the New England Marine Commerce Terminal, the promotion of tourism and the move to improve city schools can help close the gap.
The city added a net 484 jobs in October.
Mayor Jon Mitchell said he tries not to get too excited about the month-to-month numbers, “but things are clearly trending in a positive direction.”
Mitchell said there haven’t been any big employers that have moved to the city, but he said there’s been growth in many existing businesses. Joseph Abboud Manufacturing, for example, added more than 200 jobs in the last year and is continuing to hire.
“We need to keep the pedal to the medal,” Mitchell said. “As a city government we need to continue to manage our finances well and to market the city effectively.”
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