Good news on U.S. jobs bodes well for Mass. employment

By Ira Kantor | Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Link to article at


With 200,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy last month and the national unemployment rate down to 8.5 percent, economic experts say the good news should rub off on the Bay State’s December employment numbers, which will be released later this month.

“If the national economy is growing, that’s going to help Massachusetts because the rest of the country is the state’s biggest customer,” said Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews. “This is good news for Massachusetts (but) it doesn’t mean that we’ll be growing as strongly in December in payroll employment as the nation appeared to.”

In a statement, Gov. Deval Patrick described the report as “good news for the country, and yet another indication that President Obama’s job creation strategy is working.”

In November, Massachusetts notched its lowest monthly unemployment rate since December 2008 at 7 percent, with 5,000 jobs created, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

The job gain followed a revised 11,900 job gain in October originally reported as 10,800, the department said.

“There’s nothing that’s strange or idiosyncratic to Massachusetts, but there are these risks going forward,” he said. “The biggest one is what’s happening in Europe and the second one is what’s happening here in Washington, D.C.”

Michael Goodman, a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth public policy professor, said while the report was “a positive sign” for Massachusetts, the latest national statistics indicated a “feast or famine recovery” where white-collar workers would benefit more economically than blue-collar workers.

Mike Montgomery, a senior economist with IHS Global Insight, said the national data should serve as “a rising tide lifting all boats” when it comes to Massachusetts.

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