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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment numbers fall across the U.S.

MassLive.com logo MassLive.com 9/9/2020 By Douglas Hook, masslive.com

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its jobs report on Friday that showed unemployment in the U.S. fell by 2.8 million and has been continuously declining over the last four months of the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all industries are showing improvement.

“In August, employment rose in several major industry sectors,” said William W. Beach commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “A gain in government largely reflected the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality and in education and health services.”

Beach said in the statement that at the beginning of May, questions were added to the household survey to help gauge the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. labor market. The data from these questions were able to show more detail on how work and job search activity have been affected during the pandemic.

“In August, 24.3 percent of employed people teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 26.4 percent in July. These data refer to employed people who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last 4 weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The report highlighted that over 24 million people have been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic.

In July, the Massachusetts unemployment rate did improve slightly from the month before, ticking down from 17.7% to 16.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Massachusetts has the highest unemployment rate of any state. Also, initial claims for Unemployment Insurance increased during the second and third weeks of August, suggesting that the job market continues to lag and that cities with more people of color are seeing disproportionate job losses.

MGM Springfield announced last week that 1,000 employees are to be laid off at the casino due to the pandemic and restrictions imposed to keep the public safe by state government.

Scott Foster, a Business and Entrepreneurial Attorney and partner at Bulkley Richardson spoke to MassLive about the future of the state and how it might be impacting certain industries more than others.

“I worry about how that’s going to affect the places like Springfield and Holyoke where you’ve got more blue-collar workers. It feels like this pandemic is disproportionately affecting them,” said Foster. “How are they going to recover? It’s not their fault. It’s not that they’re not hard workers. It’s not that they’ve they did anything wrong. It’s just the jobs disappeared.”

Foster went on to point out that many can work from home and have that option, but if you’re working in an industry where a person has to travel to a place or work with others face to face, that’s where problems arise.

Related Content:

Western Mass. tourism industry and small businesses brace for trouble ahead as COVID-19 pandemic pressures bottom lines, forcing layoffs and business closures

MGM Springfield lays off 1,000 workers; extends health care benefits through September

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©2020 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

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