unemployment-checks

While Foxboro’s unemployment rate when up slightly in recently released figures, the number of people collecting unemployment checks is dropping in the area as a whole.

Unemployment rates in area communities bounced up and down — or remained stubbornly stable — last month, reflecting the volatility of the labor market.

Of the 10 communities covered by The Sun Chronicle, eight showed a decline in the jobless rate in September, according to figures released by the state this week, although in some cases only by a 10th of percentage point. Foxboro and Norfolk showed slight increases.

In all 10 communities, however, the unemployment rate was substantially better — often by half — than it was in September of 2020, when the state was still struggling back from pandemic-imposed shutdowns.

Massachusetts was an outlier in the nation’s unemployment picture. The state’s rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point in September to 5.2% even though the state added nearly 12,000 new jobs.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said Friday that the state’s September unemployment rate was 0.4 percentage point above the national rate of 4.8% reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state’s September 2020 rate was 8.9%. Massachusetts gained 11,900 jobs in September, up from a revised number of 3,400 jobs gained the previous month.

Locally, Rehoboth saw the best numbers, dropping nearly a whole percentage point from 4.6% in August to 3.7% in September.

That was also the lowest jobless rate in the area for the month. Seekonk’s rate dropped from 4.9% to 4.1%

Mansfield’s improvement was almost as good, dropping 7 tenths of a point from 4.9% to 4.2%. The largest community in the area, Attleboro (5.3% to 4.9%) tied with Norton (5.2% to 4.8%) for a drop of .4 points.

Foxboro’s rate rose from 4.8% in August to 5.1 in September, and Norfolk’s rate crept up from 4.5% to 4.7%

Tom Reilly can be reached at 508-236-0332 or treilly@thesunchronicle.com.

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