Just released statistics for February 2013 paints a sunny picture of declining unemployment throughout the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nationwide unemployment declined to 7.7% and in Massachusetts, unemployment declined to 6.7%. However local cities and towns struggle to keep their colors alive.
In February, Fall River had a 15% Unemployment Rate and New Bedford had 14%; far off from the National Average of 7.7%. In fact, all but two SouthCoast towns have higher unemployment than the state average. Most of these towns have higher rates than the even national rate including: Barnstable, Plymouth, Freetown and Dartmouth.
Of the large cities in Massachusetts, Fall River’s February news is the gloomiest. It reports an Unemployment Rate of 15%, even beating out its longtime rival, Lowell. When compared to all of Massachusetts towns and cities, Provincetown has the worst rate at 36.5%. However, this represents a mere 845 residents without jobs while Fall River has an estimated 6,594 jobless residents. That’s nearly 8 times the amount of people! Despite the gloomy numbers all but six area towns reported lower unemployment rates in February over January 2013.
Perhaps the darkest shadow cast over the SouthCoast is the rule for determining unemployment extensions. Federal extensions are cut when the statewide rate falls, regardless of the number of unemployed in a particular city or region. So when you read the sunny reports of falling unemployment keep in mind that may not include your district.