Marking some good economic news, unemployment in Danvers decreased in recent months, mirroring a similar trend statewide.
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported last week that Massachusetts’ seasonally unadjusted jobless rate decreased to 7.4 percent in April (down from 8.2 percent in March), reflecting lower unemployment rates in 21 areas of the labor market. During that month, jobs in construction, leisure and hospitality showed the biggest gains.
The beginnings of a positive change in the economy are visible, according to Mary Sarris, director of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in Salem. "We have seen the start of hiring in certain industries, particularly in manufacturing," Sarris said. "We are hopeful that this change becomes a trend and that the economy does begin to rebound at a quicker rate."
In Danvers, which has faired better than the state average, the jobless rate went from 6.8 percent to 6.2 percent. Beverly and Peabody reported similar percentages, while Salem reported a 7.2 percent jobless rate in April.
For Danvers, that still meant 916 members of the workforce in town were unemployed, however.
Sarris did note that the layoffs that are still taking place can be disconcerting, mentioning both the Danvers Bank merger, as well as the closing of Appleseeds in Beverly. "But, at the same time we have seen hiring, and the North Shore Workforce Investment Board and North Shore Career Center want to do whatever we can to support that trend."
The figures are a marked improvement from one year ago when unemployment for Danvers was at 7.7 percent or 1,159 workers. Unemployment statewide at the time was at 8.4 percent.
“The recent job statistics serve as hopeful news once again that the commonwealth is continuing its robust recovery. We have added jobs across nearly all sectors and our unemployment rate has fallen more than a full point below the national average – signs that our record investments in infrastructure, education and innovation are paying off,” said Gov. Deval Patrick in a statement.
“We also recognize that our work is not done, and that there are those out there still seeking a better way. For them, we continue to fight every day to ensure that everyone seeking a job can find one,” added Patrick.
The state report released last week showed that even while the local and statewide unemployment rates have decreased, the size of the overall labor force has contracted. In Danvers, that number has shrunk by about 300 people.
Statewide there are 30,000 more people employed than there were a year ago, but in Danvers, the opposite is true.
There were 13,882 employed through April, compared to 13,924 last April. The labor force was the largest in the past year in June at 15,172 when unemployment was at 7.4 percent locally.