New England Newspapers
PITTSFIELD -- National unemployment fell slightly to 7.2 percent in September, according to the federal government, but it may take awhile before last month’s labor situation can be assessed on the state and local levels.
The state normally releases the local unemployment figures on the third Tuesday of every month. But the recent shutdown of the federal government has delayed the release of the September numbers indefinitely, according to the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
State unemployment figures, which were supposed to be released Oct. 17, also have been delayed. An alternative release date for either set of figures has yet to be scheduled, according to the state.
Berkshire County unemployment had dropped to 6.4 percent in August, the lowest it had been since November 2012. The state unemployment rate for August was 7.2 percent, slightly under the national jobless rate of 7.3 percent.
The delay in the release of the local figures does not affect local workforce training programs, or other initiatives at the BerkshireWorks Career Center, Director John Barrett III said.
"Those figures are always lagging behind anyway," he said, "so it really wouldn’t have any impact on what’s going on here."
BerkshireWorks officials had spoken with the state about what would happen to their programs if the partial shutdown of the federal government had lasted longer than it did.
"We had a contingency plan in place to let us run for about a month," Barrett said.
The figures used by the state are compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a federally funded agency.
The BLS on Tuesday released an employment summary for September -- two weeks later than the original release date.
According to the federal government, 148,000 jobs were added nationally in September, with the gains coming in construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing. Those increases caused the national unemployment rate to drop slightly last month. But the number of jobs added was far less than the 193,000 that were added in August, according to The Associated Press.
The national unemployment rate for 18-to-29 years olds last month was 15.9 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday by Generation Opportunity, a national non-partisan youth advocacy organization. Those figures are not seasonally adjusted, but are adjusted for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, according to that organization. State and local figures for that age group were unavailable.
The BLS is planning to release its employment situation for October on Nov. 8, seven days later than the originally scheduled date. That delay is also due to the shut