Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (WHAV News photograph.)
While the labor department says the greater Haverhill job market saw seasonal losses and a shrinking labor force in September, Mayor James J. Fiorentini is calling the city’s unadjusted 3.5 percent unemployment rate the lowest in 16 years.
Fiorentini Monday credited work by the city, since 2011, “to attract and keep good companies, particularly manufacturing companies,” and job expansion in bringing the local unemployment rate “below the state and national averages for the first time in many years.” According to numbers released by the state, 174 fewer Haverhill residents received unemployment benefits in September, down from 1,383 in August to 1,209. But, during the same period, 574 fewer people were working and the total people working or seeking work fell by 748. However, the 3.5 percent jobless rate, down from an adjusted 3.9 percent in August, is lowest among urban communities in the Merrimack Valley, including Lowell and Lawrence. The labor department added the Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury reporting area, since September of last year, was among five areas in the state showing the largest percentage job gains. Fiorentini added Haverhill is moving in the right direction, but there is more to do.
“We still have all too many people who are underemployed or have stopped looking for work altogether. We will continue to work on attracting and keeping new business here in the city,” Fiorentini said.
Last June, as WHAV reported, Fiorentini responded to the city’s unemployment rate falling below the four percent mark in May as “the lowest Haverhill unemployment rate in a decade.”
Also, in WHAV’s listening area, the same trend brought Methuen’s unemployment rate down from 4.3 to 3.9 percent in September. Groveland’s rate fell from 2.7 in August to 2.5 percent and the monthly jobless rate in Andover dropped from 3.1 to 2.8 percent.