Government officials in Washington, D.C., may wish the rest of the country was in as good shape as North Reading and Reading.
The North Reading unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent in April, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. That is down from 5.3 percent in March and 5.8 percent in April 2011.
The Reading unemployment rate dropped even more, to 4.1 percent in April. The town's unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in March and 5.3 percent in April 2011.
Statewide, the unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent, down from 6.5 percent in March and more than 7 percent in April of last year. Nationally, the unemployment rate is still above 8 percent.
The biggest gains in April were in the professional, scientific and business services sectors, which added 4,200 jobs statewide. Construction and manufacturing, however, lost jobs in April.
The Merrimack Valley seems to be seeing a trend toward lower unemployment. Cities that have struggled in recent years continue to do so -- Lawrence still has a staggering 12.9 percent unemployment and Haverhill is at 7.9 percent -- but they are also trending lower than last year.
Here are the rates in some nearby communities:Community April 2011 March 2012 April 2012 North Reading 5.8% 5.3% 5.0% Reading 5.3% 4.2% 4.1% North Andover 5.7% 5.1% 4.9% Andover 5.5% 4.2% 4.2% Haverhill 7.9% 7.2% 6.4% Lawrence 15.7% 14.4% 12.9% Tewksbury 6.8% 5.7% 5.5% Chelmsford 5.6% 5.1% 4.8%