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Jobs Up In Massachusetts,But Confidence Low

By Paul Tuthill

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-958356.mp3

Springfield, MA – The unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell in February and it was the fifth consecutive month that jobs were added to the state's economy. But a new poll finds Massachusetts residents remain pessimistic about the economy WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

The Massachusetts unemployment rate fell a tenth of a percent in February to 8 point 2 percent, and 15 thousand 400 jobs were added according to the latest monthly report from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. A year ago, the state's unemployment rate was 8 point 8 percent.
Michael Goodman, an economic analyst and professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, says the latest data shows the Massachusetts economy is moving , slowly, in the right direction
But Goodman says the top line news masks inequities at the local and regional level, as well as at the industry level. February's big job gains came in education, and health services. Jobs were added at research, technology and consulting firms. But the state lost blue collar jobs in manufacturing and construction..
Goodman says the feast or famine pattern in job growth has played itself out regionally, with Greater Boston experiencing the bulk of the benefits and the rest of the state struggling in comparison.
Kevin Lynn, the business services manager at the Future Works Career Center in Springfield says the economy in the Western part of the state remains in transition
Lynn constantly counsels people on the importance of upgrading their skills to meet the latest demands of the workplace..
Unease about the economy is evident in the latest measure of consumer confidence among Massachusetts residents by the polling institute at Western New England College. Polling director Tim Vercellotti says the latest telephone poll of 515 Massachusetts residents indicates people recognize that the recovery will be incremental .
Forty five percent said the survey they expected the economy to stay the same in the next 12 months, with thirty five percent expecting improvement, and 19 percent believing it will get worse .
Fifty six percent in the survey said they expect their personal finances will stay about the same.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 point 3 percentage points