WMass unemployment rate double the state average

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News told you last week that the statewide unemployment rate for the month of July was 4.7 percent. That number is almost twice as high in Western Massachusetts.

Residents in the region have long-struggled to keep up with Eastern Massachusetts in terms of employment. The jobless rate in the western part of the state is currently 9.2 percent, according to Labor Secretary Ronald Walker.

The latest unemployment rates show that while the Greater Boston area saw job gains last month, cities like Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke suffered losses.

Secretary Walker told 22 News that his office is trying to identify sectors of growth. The state hopes to then connect the unemployed with workforce training so that they can qualify for those jobs.

Secretary Walker also said they were “Further working together to make sure we’re preparing the workforce for the jobs that are out there. So while the pace is slow, we’re encouraged that we’re moving in the right direction.”

The Baker administration is expected to release their economic development plan in the fall.

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