New Bedford leads nation in jobless rate decline

Posted Jan 9, 2017 at 1:19 PM
NEW BEDFORD – This city leads the nation in dropping unemployment, according to statistics released Monday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.
From November of 2015 to November of 2016 the unemployment rate in New Bedford saw a decline of 2.8 percentage points, the most in the nation, said the report.
It has been more than 16 years since the New Bedford area had an unemployment rate as low at 3.7 percent. In October 2000 the area unemployment rate briefly fell to 3.5 percent.
Mayor Jon Mitchell cautioned, “The last thing we should do is take today’s positive news for granted. There are still too many area residents who are underemployed or don’t have the skills to fill positions that are available,” he said.
He called on the city to keep working on those policies that brought the good news about. “We need to stay committed to our economic development strategy and keep pushing forward with the policies and projects that have brought us this far,” he said in a statement.
New Bedford is not alone in seeing a decline in unemployment. Most other “gateway cities” in Massachusetts also saw declines in unemployment, with Boston meanwhile registering a drop of 1.7 percent, the most in a large city.
A report in Commonwealth Magazine, published by MassINC, noted that the state appears to have reached full capacity, which means that the benefits are being more widely distributed.
Mitchell said the jobs progress reflects many factors, including the competitiveness of local companies, the hard work of their employees, and the efforts of the public sector to establish general conditions for employment growth.
“We know that the private sector performs best when the public sector creates a positive climate by being fiscally responsible and pursuing a well-defined economic strategy, he said.
Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT
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