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Massachusetts Adds 10,000 Jobs in June

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate increased to 4.3% in June from the May rate of 4.2%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday. The preliminary job estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate Massachusetts added 10,000 jobs in June. Over-the-month job gains occurred in education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; leisure and hospitality; other services; manufacturing; information; and financial activities. The May estimate was revised to a gain of 2,000 jobs. From June 2016 to June 2017, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 65,900 jobs. The June state unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate of 4.4% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The labor force decreased by 2,600 from 3,711,100 in May, as 7,600 fewer residents were employed and 5,100 more residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased six-tenths of a percentage point from 3.7% in June 2016. There were 27,400 more unemployed persons over the year compared to June 2016. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — remained at 66.7% over the month. The labor-force participation rate over the year has increased 1.8% compared to June 2016. The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in education and health services; professional, scientific, and business services; financial activities; and other services. “During the first six months of 2017, Massachusetts has experienced the largest increase in the labor force on record, and the 66.7% labor-force participation rate is now 3.9 points higher than the U.S. rate,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “These marked labor-force gains should help ease labor-market pressures and are signs of a growing economy in the Commonwealth.”

United Way, Peter Pan Launch Annual Stuff the Bus Program

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley and Peter Pan Bus Lines launched the annual Stuff the Bus campaign on July 28. The campaign will collect new school supplies through Aug. 16. The supplies will be distributed in new backpacks to children who are homeless in Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield, Westfield, West Springfield, and South Hadley. “All children in our community deserve to enter school feeling confident, proud, and equipped to learn. Yet, in our community, hundreds of children are without homes,” said United Way President Jim Ayers. “United Way and our supporters want to ensure that these most vulnerable children return to school with what they need: their own unique backpack, new supplies, and a symbolic message from our community that we care deeply about them and recognize their potential.” Individuals are encouraged to donate the following age-appropriate supplies: number-2 pencils, erasers, binders, paper, crayons, highlighters, pencil boxes, pens, glue sticks, rulers, two-pocket folders, and one-subject notebooks. Through August 16, 2017, donations can be brought to the United Way of Pioneer Valley, 1441 Main St., Suite 147, Springfield (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Western Mass News, 1300 Liberty St., Springfield (weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Balise Kia, 603 Riverdale St., West Springfield (every day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or Six Flags New England (Wednesday, Aug. 16 only). Aug. 16 is National Roller Coaster Day. Donors who provide six to 19 items will receive a $20.17 coupon toward main-gate admission at Six Flags New England. Those who provide 20 or more items will receive a free ticket. This event concludes the Stuff the Bus campaign.

Single-family Home Sales Down Slightly in June

SPRINGFIELD — Single-family home sales were down 2.6% in the Pioneer Valley in June compared to the same time last year, while the median price rose 4.8% to $218,000, according to the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. In Franklin County, sales were down 1.3%, while the median price rose 16.3% from a year earlier. In Hampden County, sales were up 3.2%, while the median price was up 5.5%. And in Hampshire County, sales fell 15% from June 2016, while the median price was up 6%.

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