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Massachusetts Unemployment Creeps Down Slightly in February

BOSTON — The state’s February total unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.7% over the month, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 14,600 jobs in February. This follows the previous month’s revised gain of 9,400 jobs. The largest over-the-month private-sector job gains were in leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; and manufacturing. Employment now stands at 3,662,400. Since the employment trough in April 2020, Massachusetts has gained 571,400 jobs.

From February 2021 to February 2022, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 173,500 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in leisure and hospitality; professional, scientific, and business services; and education and health services. Financial activities was the only sector to see job losses.

The February unemployment rate of 4.7% was 0.9% above the national rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force increased by an estimated 5,500 from 3,766,900 in January, as 9,900 more residents were employed, and 4,400 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 2.0%.

The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — was up one-tenth of a percentage point at 65.9% over the month. Compared to February 2021, the labor-force participation rate was up 0.8%.

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