Finally, Mass. Job Numbers Point To Recovery

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The Massachusetts economy added 7,600 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to 9.3 percent. This may mean the state is on the way to job recovery.

Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economist at Northeastern University, has been waiting for job numbers like these. And for months he has watched the unemployment rate bounce around and send mixed messages about economic trends. Not these latest figures.

"This whole job report is positive," Clayton-Matthews said. "Everything is going in the right direction."

Almost every job sector added workers. Even the numbers from the month before got revised in the right direction: The statisticians decided the state added more jobs in February than they first thought. It all adds up to almost 14,000 new jobs over the last three months.

One of them went to Aubrey Everett in Quincy.

"When I actually got the official offer, I had just picked my stepdaughter up from her house," Everett said. "She was so excited and said, 'Aubrey got a job.' It was just, I just felt such immense relief."

Everett had been laid off last May, when the retail store she worked for went out of business. She says it was a full-time job looking for one. Over the months, everyone she reached out to said they weren’t hiring right now. Those that were told Aubrey she was overqualified.

"It really sucked. It was one of the worst times for me. I’m young, I’m only 25," Everett said. "So I was like, 'Where is my life going? Where is my career going?' It was very difficult."

Aubrey’s thrilled to be back at work doing what she studied in college.

But here’s the reality check. There are more than 323,000 people in Massachusetts who are still looking for work — that doesn’t count people who have given up looking. Clayton-Matthews expects some things, like foreclosures, to continue to get worse. Even when people do get hired, he says, it takes a long time to build up savings and credit again.

"We’re still seeing a lot of pain out there, and that’s going to dissipate slowly. But at least the economy is in recovery," Clayton-Matthews said.

There’s pain, he says, but at least things are starting to get better.

This program aired on April 16, 2010.

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Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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