2014 started poorly for those looking for work in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Nine of the cities with larger work forces (over 18,000) found that unemployment claimants constituted more than 10% of its workforce. This number does not include those who have given up looking for work.
East Providence experienced a scorching 12.9% rise in unemployment. Providence was a close second at a spurt of 11.4%. In Massachusetts, only Fall River was in the same league with a 18.9% rise in January. Indeed, Fall River’s 15.1% unemployment rate in January beat out Lawrence as the hottest unemployment spot of all in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Lawrence had held the spot at the end of 2013.
The number of claimants rose despite the fact that many on federal extended benefits were cut off as of year end. While the January totals are “preliminary”, the trend is glaringly clear. Companies laid off more workers at year end. The local economy in off to a bad start in 2014.