July 19th, 2014
By Ray Lamont
A month after Gloucester’s June unemployment rate hit a six-year low, new job figures from the state’s Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development show that the city’s job market held steady through the month of June — and has now dipped below the state’s overall unemployment rate for the first time since the summer of 2011.
The state’s latest report shows Gloucester with a June unemployment rate of 5.4 percent — essentially the same as the mark for May. The initial report for May had also pegged Gloucester’s jobless rate at 5.4 percent‚ down by roughly a quarter from an April mark of 7.2. But the revised state figure for May in this week’s new report lists Gloucester with a rate of 5.3 percent, technically meaning that the June rate represents an increase.
Yet, the 5.4 percent rate for June means the city’s jobless percentage fell below the state’s unemployment rate — pegged at 5.6 percent, an increase from a mark of 5.2 percent in May — for the first time since July 2011, when the state posted a jobless rate of 7.8 percent and the city’s figure stood at 7.7. And Gloucester’s June rate continues to run far below the rate for June of last year when the city’s jobless mark was still as high as 7.7 percent.
Ken Riehl, executive director of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, said Monday that he views Gloucester’s and Cape Ann’s new unemployment numbers as a tangible sign of what’s proving to be a strong economic summer — with signs of continued strength to come.
“I can’t give any real quantitative numbers, but qualitatively, businesses on Cape Ann appear to be up, especially in the visitor-based economy,” Riehl said. “Our accommodations, restaurants and attractions all appear to be up over where they’ve been in the past.”