Holyoke Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.4% Text Size

According to statistics released Tuesday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Holyoke’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, the lowest level in 15 years, or since December of 2001. The rate fell from 8.1 percent in September 2015, and from over 11% in 2012, when Mayor Morse first took office, even as the size of the labor force has remained stable.

The data comes as encouraging news to officials in Holyoke who have sought to bolster the local economy by aiding business startups and expansions, reutilizing vacant buildings and land, and investing in workforce development. “Economic Development has been a priority since day one, and while progress in the City is clearly visible, it’s better to be validated by the state’s data” said Mayor Alex B. Morse.

Over the last 5 years, the city has seen millions of dollars in projects that have created new job opportunities for residents and expanded the tax base, such as the expansion of Marcotte Ford and Gary Rome Hyundai, the first phase completion of the Ingleside Square development, and the cleanup of the old Parsons Paper to prepare for the expansion of Aegis Energy.

“What’s even more exciting is that there are initiatives coming down the pipeline which will create even more job opportunities in the years ahead” added Morse. One such initiative is Holyoke Community College’s expanded Center for Culinary & Hospitality Excellence, launched in partnership with the City and MGM Springfield. The larger program will train at least 50 Holyoke residents every year for free at their new downtown location, slated to open at “The Cubit”  in 2017. One of the largest employment industries in Western Massachusetts, the City previously invested in Providence Ministries’ FoodWorks program, obtaining an 85% placement rate for its participants and receiving a National Community Development Association distinction.

The City also continues to work on other partnerships to spur employment such as the SPARK program. An initiative intended to help local potential entrepreneurs realize their business plans and create hundreds of new jobs over the next decade, the program has thus far launched 31 businesses which have created 46 jobs.

For more information, go to MassLive.

Posted on October 28, 2016 by