(WWLP) — Towns in western Massachusetts are seeing an unemployment rate that is much higher than the eastern part of the state.
The Pioneer Institute is tracking job losses due to the pandemic. Amherst is seeing between 30% to 39.6% unemployment rate. Compare that to Watertown at 22.9%
But, the head of Summit Careers Inc., an employment agency in Springfield told 22News that despite the pandemic, there are jobs still available locally, specifically in health care and manufacturing.
“I think our staggering unemployment numbers are very closely related to not necessarily to the demand for workers,” said Bryan Picard of Summit Careers Inc. “But very heavily related to the supply and those willing to go out there and get jobs.”
Nearly 3 million US workers filed for unemployment claims last week according to the Labor Department. But many of them are willing to wait out the economic shutdown in hopes of getting their old job back.
Rachel Bretton of Westfield said she was working in retail but was furloughed due to the pandemic.
“No one knows what’s going to happen, all we can do is hope for the best as far as reopening,” said Bretton. “I don’t think a lot of people feel very secure as far as the future goes, but I am hoping that this will return back to normal so we can get back to a normal working life.”
Springfield’s unemployment rate sits between 25% and 36.5%. Chicopee’s – between 25% and 31% and Holyoke is at 31%.
The state’s phased economic opening begins next week. But so far there isn’t a clear indication of industries that will be allowed to open in phase one of the reopening.