Massachusetts, Connecticut Unemployment Figures Rise in June

New numbers released Thursday  show increases in unemployment rates for Massachusetts and Connecticut for the month of June.  

Massachusetts’ jobless figure, is the highest it’s been in nearly two years. At seven percent, it’s up almost a half a point from May. Connecticut saw its unemployment rate rise slightly to 8-point-1 percent.  It’s remained about the same over the last several months. Both states actually saw job growth in May, but with more people looking for work, the jobless rates grew. Patricia Crosby heads the Franklin-Hampshire Regional Employment Board in Massachusetts. She says one demographic her agency has seen more of recently is the middle-aged:

“Many of whom have worked a long time and and very well at their job and have a very strong work history, but circumstances change, businesses go out of business, places downsize and they’re finding themselves on the wrong end of that.”

The Connecticut construction industry saw a surprising decrease in available jobs. Despite spring and summer typically being a busy time for building projects, positions in that sector were down more than 3 percent. Patrick Flaherty, an economist with the Connecticut Department of Labor, says a wet June is to blame.

“We’re looking to see that turn around hopefully in July, although excessive heat is also sometimes difficult for the construction industry. We had an industry that had been growing, we’re certainly well above where we were a year ago in terms of construction.”

Sectors in Massachusetts and Connecticut that added jobs included Education, Leisure and Hospitality as well as Government. For New England Public Radio, I’m Adam Frenier.