happening today:

11:00 a.m. | Governor's Council interviews assistant clerk magistrate Rachel Hickey for a permanent posting as clerk magistrate of Ipswich District Court. Hickey was an Essex County prosecutor in the 1990s and worked as a lawyer in the Executive Office of Public Safety under Gov. Swift before starting as an assistant clerk in 2006... Council Chamber

2:30 a.m. | Governor's Council, which normally only meets on Wednesdays, holds a formal session on Tuesday this week. Council could vote on whether to confirm one of its own, Councilor Robert Jubinville, as clerk magistrate of Framingham District Court..

It’s been a busy year for the MASSterList job board, reflecting two phenomena: job growth and a shrinking labor pool. As the year closes, and with Matt off this week and thus no one around to stop me, I’m free to get a little nerdy with job data and gaze into the crystal ball.

The question is whether the tight labor market will continue in 2023. One datapoint suggests that the answer is yes. It’s the aforementioned labor force, the combination of those working and those looking for work. It’s anemic, level with five years ago and down by about 22,000 in the past year (Nov. 2021-Nov. 2022).  There are many contributing factors, part of a nationwide trend. Meanwhile, year over year, Massachusetts has gained 144,000 jobs.

So the talent squeeze continues, at least for now. Yes, the Fed is doing everything it can to slow the economy, but so far higher interest rates haven’t curbed hiring growth. Perhaps some sectors will shed jobs (like construction, real estate, finance) and others, especially health care and hospitality, should continue to hire robustly.

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A few relevant employment facts and figures:

• Registered nurse openings: 3,447 (Source: The Commonwealth’s Department of Economic Research)

• Commonwealth of Massachusetts job openings: 1,402. (Source: MassCareers website)

• Total state government employment, Nov. 2022: 124,500

• Total state government employment, May 2014: 125,600

• Jobs gained in Massachusetts since April 2020: 677,100

— As administrations change, debate over future of Springfield courthouse endures 

With just days to go, hope is fading in Springfield that the Baker administration will choose a path forward for the Roderick Ireland Courthouse, which has been plagued by health and safety issues in recent years, MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports. Gov.-elect Maura Healey has pledged to make finding a solution a priority, but even future governors may have a hand in the solution: A brand new courthouse could take as long as 15 years to build.

MassLive

— Pot prices plummet amid glut in cannabis hitting market 

Both retail and wholesale prices of cannabis in the Bay State have plunged this year, following a trend seen in other states that have embraced legalization, Bart Schaneman of MJ Biz Daily reports. The per-gram price for cannabis flower fell to $7.76 in October, compared to more than $14 a year ago, a plunge that could imperil some dispensaries whose business plans were built on prices remaining high for longer.

MJ Biz Daily

— Athol man found guilty on US Capitol breach charges 

Vincent J. Gillespie, 61, of Athol, was found guilty Friday in a Washington, D.C. courthouse on four federal charges related to his actions on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol. Domenic Poli of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Gillespie, who was identified by tipsters based in part on the Berkshires gym sweatshirt he was wearing that day, will be sentenced in March.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

— Nantucket liquor stores brace for coming nip-bottle ban 

Liquor stores on Nantucket are scrambling to sell off their supplies of single-serving alcohol bottles, or nips, as the ban on the tiny bottles approved at last year’s Town Meeting takes effect on Jan. 1. Jason Graziadei of the Nantucket Current reports stores have been told there will be no post-New Year grace period and that distributors have informed the stores they are unable to take back unsold nips. 

Nantucket Current

Metro

Boston officials considering a return to an indoor mask mandate — Universal Hub

The surge in Seaport construction continues — Boston Globe

Bids for BCEC land feature labs, grocery stores… and flying taxis — Boston Business Journal

Massachusetts

Auchincloss reflects on first term, what lies ahead in US Congress — Sun Chronicle

CHP ends its midwife program in Great Barrington, citing low number of births and an older population — Berkshire Eagle

National

Democrats call for George Santos to resign over ‘whopping lies’ — The Hill

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Keith Regan is a freelance writer and local news junkie who has been on the MASSterList morning beat since the newsletter’s earliest days. A graduate of Northeastern University and Emerson College, Regan lives in Hopkinton with his wife, Lisa.