The seasonally adjusted Massachusetts Employment Population Ratio ticked up again in December from 61.5% to 61.7%, up from 59.8% in December 2013 but still far down from the pre-recession high of 64.2% in December 2006 or the pre-dot-com recession high of 66.5% in December 2000.
The Mass Division of Labor and Workforce Development reported today that the official seasonally-adjusted U3 rate, which leaves out those who haven’t applied for a job in over a month, involuntary part time workers, anyone who has never held a job, anyone receiving a pension no matter how small or who is putting in even a few hours of unpaid work on a family business or farm, is down to 5.5% from 5.8% in November and 6.7% in December 2013.
Chris Horton of the Worcester Unemployment Action Group commented: “While these figures and the direction in which they are moving are encouraging, this is very far from showing the healthy job market that the latest official U3 Unemployment Rate figures seem to point to. Many of our members are struggling to get by on part time and marginal work or work far below their skill and education levels for wages far less than they need, but would not be classed as unemployed. We are watching the situation cautiously, hoping this upturn will continue, but we don’t see where the demand for goods and services is coming from that could sustain it, because most of the people we know have no money to spend.”
Michelle Arnhold of Worcester, who described herself as a “highly educated single parent with two special needs children”, when asked of what she thought of President Obama’s claim that the job market is almost back to normal, said: “That’s inaccurate and uneducated. If he actually came out of his office and spent a day with us regular folk who are looking and begging for work every day he would think differently. I’ve been unemployed for two years and I’ve filled out over 200 applications for everything from healthcare to construction, entry level jobs to jobs I have a degree for. I would do any kind of work to support my children but there’s just nothing out there. They need to go back to the drawing board and look a little deeper, and then report actual facts.”