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Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 12:40 am
By Ray Lamont, Editor
More than 800 additional Cape Ann workers were on the job in February than were working a year earlier, the state’s latest job figures show — continuing a year-over-year trend that’s been steady since last summer.
The latest jobs report from the state’s Executive office of Labor and Workforce Development indicate that 14,589 Gloucester workers were holding down jobs in February of this year — a number that stands at 562 more than the 14,027 who were reportedly working in February 2014.
The Gloucester total also stands as a gain over the 14,450 who were reported as working in January, showing an increase even in the heart of winter’s off-season. The job gains also came during as period in which Cape Ann businesses reported an estimated drop of 25 percent in revenues in the face of four epic snowstorms, according to estimates cited previously by Ken Riehl, CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.
The job gains for Gloucester residents — coming as the city’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from a 7.8 percent mark in January, and from February 2014’s jobless rate of 9.6 — is also reflected across Cape Ann’s towns.
Rockport’s figures showed 3,355 residents working as of February of this year, up by 116 from the 3,239 who were holding down jobs in February 2014.
Manchester reported 2,528 residents working in February of this year, compared to 2,478 from February of a year ago.
Essex statistics showed a gain of 99 workers on the job from February 2014 to February of this year, with 1,985 residents working in February 2014 and 2,084 holding down position this year.
Milestone in 2014
The specific job numbers essentially stand as the figures behind positive developments in Cape Ann’s unemployment rates that carried through much of the 2014 calendar year. Last year, in fact, marked the first time since at least 2007 that Gloucester’s jobless rate failed to hit the 10 percent mark in any given month. The gains also reflect a statewide trend that showed an 800-job increase across Massachusetts in February when compared to January — and a year-over-year February gain of 58,100 jobs, according to the Labor and Workforce Development report.
While the local statistics reflect that more Cape Ann residents are holding down jobs. The state figures do not, however, define those jobs as being based on Cape Ann.
Also, all of the unemployment rates and jobs estimates for Massachusetts — and for every other state — are based on several different statistical methodologies specified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the fact that the numbers are based on a workforce as recognized by the state and federal government has raised questions in the past, with analysts noting the government has no means of tracking or accounting for any number of workers whose unemployment benefits have expired. That can especially be a factor when any state, city or town shows a significant drop in its workforce.
In Cape Ann’s case, however, all four communities haves shown growing workforces between February 2014 and February of this year, with Gloucester’s rising from 15,509 to 15,808.
Times Editor Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or via email at email@example.com.