January 2011 labor data is not good. Our 20 town regional unemployment rate is 9.2% This is up from 8.3% in December. We need to be mindful that seasonal employment and weather conditions played some role here for sure. Although the January unemployment rate is typically higher than December, a nearly 1% increase in a single month may be more than just the effects of seasonal employment and weather issues. But we can’t be certain of that yet.
On a statewide basis, January brought about the highest number of exhaustees to date (those whose benefits expired after 99 weeks of unemployment). There are now 37,000+ in our State and 7,500+ in our 20 town region. Our regional increase of exhaustees is now exceeding 150 per week with no end in sight.