GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – President Barack Obama will talk about the job market in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address; a topic Franklin County residents are watching closely.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows more Americans are satisfied with the economy today than at any point over the last 10 years. At 46-percent, the president’s job-approval rating is the highest it’s been since the government shut down.
In that poll, Americans said that the top priority of President Obama and Congress should be to create more jobs; however, in Franklin County, we’re seeing an increase in jobs in manufacturing, retail, and health care.
The Franklin Hampshire Career Center in Greenfield tracks hiring trends. Michael Baines of the career center told 22News, “There are two reasons that we’re focused on training people in manufacturing, and one is because the economy is getting better, and there’s also an interest in replacing retiring workers.”
Franklin County’s unemployment rate is 4.8-percent, compared to the state average of 5.2-percent. Michael Truckey of the Franklin Hampshire Career Center said, “We’re seeing 600 less customers coming to us looking for work, and that turns out that people are finding their own opportunities out there.”
Truckey added that the hiring rate is steady for small businesses.
The career center is an important resource for Franklin County job-seekers. “If you haven’t been near this place in a long time, it’s quite a lot to figure out. There’s a lot out there to help people out,” Paul Norwood of Colrain said.
Recent career center clients are earning about 50-cents to a dollar more per hour than they were last year.