Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Holds Steady in June

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent in June, its lowest point since before the recession began in 2007, according to the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The state added 10,500 jobs last month, making June the tenth straight month of job gains for Massachusetts.


The biggest job growth reported was the professional, scientific, and business services sector, which added 5,200 jobs. About 30 percent of all jobs added in Massachusetts over the past year were in this sector, including jobs in the biotech industry.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

Massachusetts Unemployment Drops to 8-Year Low

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.6 percent in May, the lowest it’s been since December 2007, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Massachusetts employers added 7,400 jobs in May, the ninth consecutive month of job gains.


Construction experienced the largest uptick in hiring of about 3,500 jobs. Retail gained 1,500 jobs, manufacturing added 600 jobs and financial activities added 700 jobs, while transportation and warehousing lost 500 jobs.


Over the past year, the state unemployment rate has fallen 1.2 percentage points and is nearly half of the peak unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in September 2009. Education and health services, as well as professional, scientific, and business services have grown fastest in the past year.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

Boston is Popular with Recent College Grads

A recent report from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranked Boston as the third most popular major American city among young college graduates.


This trend appears to be a reversal of a study two years ago that found a “brain drain” occurring as recent college graduates were leaving New England at a faster rate than any region in the country.


Among the eight economic and quality-of-life factors in AIER’s Employment Destinations Index that influenced migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35, the most important were:

  1. A high density of people with a college degree
  2. A low unemployment rate
  3. The ability to get around without a car


Other factors in the Employment Destinations Index included bars and restaurants per 1,000 residents, as well as earning power, rents, competition for jobs, and ethnic and racial diversity.


Massachusetts’ unemployment rate recently fell to its lowest rate since 2008 and the unemployment rate for workers with college degrees is about half the national average.


Despite the MBTA’s recent troubles, Boston takes public transportation seriously. Several PSG clients have chosen to relocate to more accessible, urban locations when upgrading their office space. This is an important consideration for attracting Millennial workers who may be eschewing car ownership.


PSG clients, and other Boston-area employers, are also attracting younger workers with state-of-the-art office design that promotes collaboration. Benefits such as providing free and healthy meals are also popular recruiting and retention tools.


What is your organization doing to attract younger workers? If you’d like help recruiting and hiring talent from this demographic, give PSG a call today.







Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 2008

The Massachusetts economy added jobs for the eighth consecutive month and Massachusetts’ unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7 percent, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s monthly report for April.


Massachusetts employers added more than 10,000 jobs in April, after adding 12,000 jobs in March. The biggest job gains in April were in the education and health industries, which added 4,500 jobs last month, and in professional, scientific and health industries, which grew by 3,700 jobs. Leisure and hospitality businesses added 1,900 jobs. Construction, information, and government also grew.


The last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent was in January 2008.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent.

Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Job Market

This post was originally published in NEHRA’s April e-newsletter. 


New England-area employers and hiring managers are experiencing first-hand a shift to a candidate-driven job market. They’re finding that it’s become more difficult to land top talent and that candidates are increasingly in the driver’s seat.


This shift is a result of several market conditions that drive demand for skilled workers, including:

  • 4.8 percent – Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in March 2015
  • 10,500 jobs were added to the Massachusetts economy in March, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year
  • 2 percent of the U.S.’ eligible workforce is participating in the labor market; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor participation rate in March was the highest it’s been since June 2010
  • There are now 5.1 million job openings in the U.S., an increase from 4.2 million in 2014 and a rise of more than 21 percent


This demand for highly skilled workers – across all industries – continues to rise and has become a central challenge for recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters and hiring managers are becoming well aware that this candidate-driven market exists and they are responding.


Highly skilled workers have many job openings to choose from, and are ultimately receiving multiple job offers during a typical job search. Skills and experience in IT, professional services and healthcare continue to be among the highest sought after. For example, temporary contractors with IT skills and experience are seeing multiple offers for future projects or permanent positions before wrapping up projects they’re currently on.


Not only are skilled candidates seeing multiple opportunities and then fielding several offers, but compensation and benefits are also affected. Salaries across the U.S. have remained mostly stagnant, but for highly skilled IT, Project Management, and niche financial and healthcare professionals, it’s a completely different story. One banking client of ours in Boston hires several experienced consultants to facilitate cyclical financial reporting projects. According to him, “Recently, there are just fewer immediately available candidates with the specific skills [he] needs to hammer through these reports, and they are able to demand higher hourly rates simply because of supply and demand.”


Our clients are faced with a critical decision over how much budget to allocate for each new hire. If they allocate too little, they will lose candidates to other offers. Large tech companies like Google and Facebook are setting new standards for both compensation and benefits, forcing other companies to follow suit. A large social media and tech company just outside Boston recently offered select highly skilled software engineers salaries at three to five times the market average, and is increasing company-provided lunch from three days per week to five days per week starting in July this year. Employers are trying to be flexible and think creatively about how they attract talent.


Companies in the Boston and New England area have been forced to rethink how they go about getting work done, the type of candidates they end up hiring, and the process through which they hire. It seems obvious, but I’ll elaborate a bit. In today’s economic climate, where demand for skilled workers has steadily increased, companies going through organizational change, merger or acquisition, implementations, upgrades, growth or decline will face difficulty finding available talent that meets their exact need. The more prerequisites or more specific the skill-set is, the harder it is to find the perfect match.


Hiring managers feel the pressure of time to meet deadlines and manage through change, and more frequently than ever before, they are utilizing temporary or contingent workers to fulfill those needs. According to the BLS and Staffing Industry Analysts, temporary workers as a percentage of total employment is at an all-time high and trending upward. Some firms find that it is faster and more affordable to utilize a staffing firm to hire a temporary consultant than to post a job and find the perfect full-time employee.


Hiring managers who hire quickly win. With a talent pool on the decline and demand on the rise, those who shorten the time it takes to find and onboard candidates are winning the best available talent when they need it most. Many of our clients have elected to trust our screening and interviewing process, asking us to send our best available candidates, rather than requesting to see and screen resumes and then interview themselves. This can mean the difference between getting the best available candidate or the second or third round, and it saves our clients money and time toward deadlines and goals.


On another note, clients who are generally more flexible with required skills and experience are finding access to alternative talent pools more efficient and successful than waiting for the perfect candidate to turn up. Intertwined in our screening and interview process is a detailed and rigorous extraction of skills and experience not appearing on resumes. Another way to speed the vetting and hiring process up a bit is simply by using technology – like Skype or other video conferencing tools – to ease requirements for meeting in-person.


At PSG, we rely heavily on our ability to build strong relationships with clients where this process is a true collaboration, and we commonly coach and advise clients on effective search techniques. In today’s tight market, shortening identification and onboarding time, being more flexible with prerequisites and offering competitive wages and benefits are keeping our clients at a competitive advantage in this new candidate-driven market.


If you or your company would like to discuss hiring in a candidate-driven market, please feel free to reach me at or 617-250-1000.


Nicholas Brown is  Director – IT, Finance & Accounting, Creative and HR Staffing Solutions at Professional Staffing Group





Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.8 Percent

The Massachusetts unemployment rate continues to fall. According to the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in March. The state also saw an increase of 10,500 jobs last month, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year.


The state’s biggest job growth was in the health and education sector and the hospitality and leisure industries.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops; State Adds Jobs

Massachusetts’ December unemployment report contained some positive signs: the state’s unemployment rated dropped to 5.5 percent, from 5.8 percent in November, and nearly 11,000 jobs were added to the state’s economy.


The Office of Labor and Workforce Development also reported that the state netted more than 60,000 new jobs over the past 12 months, making 2014 the strongest year for job growth since 2000.

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Rises But Economy Expands

Massachusetts’ monthly unemployment rate ticked up in September, from 5.8 percent to 6 percent, and is now higher than the national average unemployment rate of 5.9 percent. However, experts attribute the rise to more than 15,000 workers entering the job market and say that, combined with the addition of 9,400 jobs, is a good sign for the Massachusetts economy.


Other positive signs for the local job market:

  • Massachusetts has added jobs in four of the past five months and more than 60,000 jobs in the last year.
  • In addition to 9,500 retail jobs that were added to the local economy last month (mainly attributed to the end of the Market Basket dispute), jobs were also added in the information services, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, financial services, and construction sectors.

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly to 5.6 percent

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate rose slightly – from 5.5 percent, its lowest rate in almost six years, to 5.6 percent in July, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Massachusetts also added 13,800 jobs to the economy last month.

In July, the professional, scientific and business services, as well as education and health services sectors, added the most jobs. A net of 67,300 jobs have been added to the Massachusetts economy over the past year.

The national unemployment rate is currently 6.2 percent.

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate for June dropped to its lowest rate in nearly six years – to 5.5 percent – and the state added 3,700 jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent report.


Compared to figures from one year ago, Massachusetts’ total unemployment rate is down 1.6 percent and the state has added a net total of 48,900 jobs, 48,400 in the private sector and 500 jobs in the public sector.


The biggest jobs producers were in the education and health services sectors, which added a combined 6,000 positions in June. Retailers added 1,800 jobs, while local government grew by 900 positions. Manufacturing jobs lost 1,100 in June.


The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in June.