Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, said it now takes typical jobless workers about 30 weeks to land a new one. “We have never seen anything like this,” he told us recently. And the jobs people are find are often part-time positions. Sum noted that the spike in the number of people looking for work in June suggested that people were seeing their unemployment benefits run out.

Mike Gerry, deputy director of the North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, said that region has been hit harder than other areas of the state in part because some out-of-work residents have shown a reluctance to travel for low-paying jobs. “For the lower-paying jobs, it’s not economically feasible to spend half your paycheck on transportation costs,” Gerry noted.

That of course also accounts for part of the higher unemployment rate in Lowell, and other urban centers like Worcester, Springfield and Brockton.