Baker: Return to Work Could Be "Bumpy"

BOSTON (State House News Service) — The path for laid-off workers to return to jobs and for employers to fill open positions will be "a little bumpy" as Massachusetts transitions out of the public health emergency, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday.

Employers added 5,100 positions in April, but the pace of gains slowed and total employment remains more than 260,000 jobs below where it was pre-pandemic, according to data released Friday.

Baker said that it might take some time for residents to adjust after more than a year of distancing requirements, capacity limits, and for many, concerns about health and safety from working in-person.

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"The whole process associated with people finding their way back to work and employers finding employees is going to be one that, to use an old phrase, is going to be a little bumpy," Baker said. "We've gone through a year where many people have been concerned about being at work. Not everybody has the luxury to work from home. As the virus has dramatically receded, as most people who are of working age have gotten vaccinated, it makes it a lot easier for folks to take the step to go out and find a job and go back to work."

Baker said his administration would do "everything we can" to support those who want to go back to work, floating the possibility of offering more online networking and job fair events.

"As the case counts continue to go down, as vaccinations continue to go up, I think more and more people will get comfortable with 'going back to work,'" he said.

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