Unemployment Rates a Cause For Concern?


Since 2009, unemployment rates have rose significantly. In a recent study of unemployment rates in both Carlisle and Amherst, Mass., data has shown an increase in unemployment, which conversely affects the total wages earned by the population in each town.

In 2009, Amherst maintained a labor force of 19, 316. Of that labor force, only 18, 322 were employed. The unemployment rate in 2009 was a brutal 5.1 percent. That is a 1.3 percent increase in unemployment from the previous year. The amount of people lacking jobs in Amherst escalated to over 250 people from 2008-2009.

During the same time period, Carlisle touted a labor force of about 2,550 people. About 2,385 of the residents were employed. Meaning only 165 people were unemployed in Carlisle during 2009. Compared to the previous year, only 89 people were without a job. Over a one year time period, unemployment rate rose an astounding three percent.

Amherst and Carlisle are two very different towns; Amherst hosts a larger population even when students are in session. The amount of total wages in the town totaled almost $666 million dollars. Average employment was about 14,600 with the average weekly income a modest $877 dollars.

Carlisle only grossed a total of over $38 million dollars. Average employment sits around 681 people. The kicker is the average weekly earnings of $1,087 dollars in the town.

This could be due to a variety of different factors; therefore, economics must be taken into account. It could be that Carlisle laborers not only make more due to increased job competition where as Amherst has the ability to hire college students for minimum wage. This could also negatively affect the number of unemployed residents of Amherst.

While this only compares two towns, it is important to recognize their difference in populations and available job opportunities when comparing the data against each other.

Is it time to press the panic button in these and similar towns? Not so fast, statewide unemployment rates are even higher. These days, unemployment has crept to an unhealthy 9.1 percent. However, the national rates still continue to rise. Currently sitting at 9.5 percent, the national unemployment line has been busy. Needless to say, while unemployment in local towns is a problem, the issue is not as severe locally as it is nationally.

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