Fall River unemployment rate is the worst in MA - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Fall River unemployment rate is the worst in MA

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By: Samantha Lavien

Slavien@abc6.com

Twitter: @samanthalavien

Fall River saw a huge jump in its unemployment rate in January placing the city with the highest jobless numbers in Massachusetts.

The rate rose to 15.1% up from 12.7% in December.

But, despite the numbers city economic leaders say there are actually thousands of jobs available.

"Right now in Fall River there's 5,000 jobs going unfilled, within 10 miles of Fall River there's another 900 jobs and within 20 miles there is over 4,000 jobs," said Kenneth Fiola, the Executive Vice President at the Fall River Office of Economic Development.

Fiola says the key is finding ways to fill the open positions.

"The issue to me is not how many people might be reported as unemployed but how many people are filling the job positions that do exist and the need for programs to be put in place so that people can access these jobs both in terms of educational attainment, transportation, and maybe it is even a situation where English is a second language that needs to be addressed," said Fiola.

"Finding a job is one of the hardest things to do over here," said Jonathan Gruber of Fall River.

Gruber has been out of work 6 months and he says the high unemployment rate is disheartening.

"It's just hard. You know, I wake up every day fill out as many applications as you can, but most of the time you're just sitting there waiting by the phone and nobody is going to call you," said Gruber.

Fall River's unemployment rate is more than twice that of the state's which came in at 7.1% for January.

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