BOSTON — The state’s hiring crunch is getting worse, according to a new report that finds more than half of all employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

The Massachusetts National Guard has in the last year-plus been pressed into duty to help keep the peace at large rallies, to provide security outside the U.S. Capitol Building, to step in during a shortage of school bus drivers and now to help with COVID-19 testing at schools and to be ready in the event of a Department of Correction staffing shortage.

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What will Halloween look like for your kids this year? The Andover Select Board set trick-or-treating from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31., after the COVID-19 pandemic demanded changes to celebrations last year. Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said the town’s guidance for having a safe Halloween will be released soon after the state releases its official guidance. How comfortable will you be with trick-or-treating this year?

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