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Unemployment Down Across Most of Massachusetts in April

BOSTON — Local unemployment rates decreased in 13 labor-market areas, increased in three areas, and remained the same in eight areas in the state during the month of April, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported. Compared to April 2016, the rates were down in nine labor-market areas, increased in 10 areas, and remained the same in five areas. All 15 areas for which job estimates are published recorded seasonal job gains in April. The largest gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Springfield, Barnstable, Worcester, and Framingham areas. From April 2016 to April 2017, 12 of the 15 areas added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in the New Bedford, Barnstable, Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, and Boston-Cambridge-Newton areas. In order to compare the statewide rate to local unemployment rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for April was 3.8%. Last week, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.9% in the month of April. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a 3,900 job gain in April, and an over-the-year gain of 58,600 jobs. The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates. The estimates for labor force, unemployment rates, and jobs for Massachusetts are based on different statistical methodology specified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Single-family Home Sales in Pioneer Valley Up in April

SPRINGFIELD — Single-family home sales were up 2.3% in the Pioneer Valley in April compared to the same time last year, while the median price fell 0.2% to $194,000, according to the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. In Franklin County, sales were down 5.7%, while the median price fell 11.3% from a year earlier. In Hampden County, sales were up 6.7%, while the median price was down 1.3%. And in Hampshire County, sales fell 5.1% from March 2016, while the median price was up 7.9%.

Local Land Trust Offers New License Plate

AGAWAM — The Massachusetts Chapter of the Sportsmen’s National Land Trust (SNLT) is collecting pre-orders for a new Massachusetts license plate which it plans to have released later this year. The SNLT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Agawam, founded in 2003 to help conserve natural resources and wildlife habitat across the state. Proceeds from the plate will be used to acquire, maintain, and improve open land strictly within Massachusetts, which will be available to the public forever. The all-volunteer land trust has created a special plate with a deer-buck image created by local wildlife artist Ed Snyder. A limited number of low-number original issue plates are still available at the land trust website at, but quantities are limited. Further information about the SNLT can be found at the website as well.

AMA Study: Practice Owners No Longer Physician Majority

CHICAGO — Less than half of patient-care physicians had an ownership stake in their medical practice, according to a newly updated study on physician-practice arrangements by the American Medical Assoc. (AMA). This marks the first time physician-practice owners fell below a majority of the nation’s patient-care physicians since the AMA began documenting practice-arrangement trends. The share of patient-care physicians with ownership stakes in a medical practice declined 6% to 47.1% in 2016 from 53.2% in 2012. In contrast, the share of patient-care physicians with employed positions increased about 5% to 47.1% in 2016 from 41.8% in 2012. As a result, there were equal shares of physician employees and physician practice owners in 2016, while 5.9% of patient-care physicians were independent contractors. The preference of younger physicians toward employed positions has had a prominent impact. Nearly two-thirds (65.1%) of physicians under age 40 were employees in 2016, compared to 51.3% in 2012. The share of employees among physicians age 40 and older also increased between 2012 and 2016, but at a more modest pace than younger physicians. “Patients benefit when physicians practice in settings they find professionally and personally rewarding, and the AMA strongly supports a physician’s right to practice in the setting of their choice,” said AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman. “The AMA is committed to helping physicians navigate their practice options and offers innovative strategies and resources to ensure physicians in all practice sizes and setting can thrive in the changing health environment.”

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