Huge Unemployment Drop in New Bedford; Economy Bouncing Back - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Huge Unemployment Drop in New Bedford; Economy Bouncing Back

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Twitter: markcurtisABC6 

There are signs the New Bedford economy is turning around.

One outside a restaurant under construction says, "Opening Soon".

Another outside a clothing plant says, “Now Hiring.”

That's because suit manufacturing inside, is booming.

"Our men's clothing business has really taken off over the past 12 months. We have 200 new hires in the last year of employees, and we're looking for help today. We probably need another 50 people,” said Tony Sapienza, CEO of Joseph Abboud Clothing, and Chairman of the New Bedford Economic Development Commission.

Just down the road, construction continues at "The Black Whale" restaurant, which opens Thursday.

The owner believes a waterfront location, with seafood, is a perfect match in New Bedford.

"The City itself has changed. It's very pedestrian friendly. It's very tourist friendly. You know we want you to come down to see the character, walk around here and I think you'll enjoy the fishing boats you'll enjoy the food, and you'll enjoy just the character of the city," said Al Santos who owns “The Black Whale” and Hygrade Ocean Products in New Bedford.

The restaurant has created 78 new jobs.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "And that's not all. Before long construction will begin on a new 18 million dollar hotel along the New Bedford waterfront, featuring almost 150 new rooms."

New Bedford was once mostly a fishing economy, but now there is tourism, manufacturing, construction and shipping.

"Diversification insures long–term stability. As one thing goes down, there will be other things to support the economy... It's a good problem to have. It creates work for us, but this is the kind of work we want," said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell.

New Bedford's unemployment rate fell nearly 3 percentage points last month, the largest drop of any metropolitan area in America.

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