Economist: Mass. Unemployment Rate Rising Slightly Shows Growth In Labor Force

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts was up a tenth-of-a-point in July to 5.6 percent. The small increase comes even though nearly 14,000 jobs were added across the state. One expert says the slight uptick in the jobless rate may actually be a positive sign.

Bob Nakosteen is an economist at UMass. He says the addition of more jobs in Massachusetts to go along with the increase in the unemployment rate is an indication more people are returning to the labor force.

“It means that people now see the economy improving,” Nakosteen says. “They feel like they can come out of labor market dormancy and look for a job. The fact they’re unemployed when they do so raises the unemployment rate, but it does so for a good reason.”

As for the rest of the near, Nakosteen says he expects the economy to keep growing and that will be a factor in the Massachusetts unemployment rate.

“I think you’re going to continue to see modest, but very important employment growth and either a stable or falling unemployment rate. So, I think the picture for the rest of the year looks pretty good.”

Massachusetts has seen its unemployment rate drop a point and a half since this time last year and remains below the national figure of 6.5 percent.