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Massachusetts Unemployment Down Slightly in December

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.8% in December, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 5,000 jobs in December. Over the month, the private sector lost 4,500 jobs as losses occurred in professional, scientific, and business services; manufacturing; financial activities; education and health services; and other services. Gains occurred in leisure and hospitality along with trade, transportation, and utilities, while the job levels in information and construction remained unchanged over the month. Government lost jobs over the month. From December 2018 to December 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 44,800 jobs.

The December unemployment rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.5% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Preliminary job estimates indicate that Massachusetts added nearly 45,000 jobs in 2019,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said. “Education and health services once again led the way, posting a 23,900-job gain, which accounted for one out every two jobs added in the Commonwealth last year. The statewide unemployment rate remained low, finishing at 2.8%.”

The labor force increased by 6,700 from 3,849,700 in November, as 7,800 more residents were employed and 1,000 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point.

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 — increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.8%, which is 4.7% above the national average. Compared to December 2018, the labor-force participation rate remained unchanged.

The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in education and health services, information, leisure and hospitality, and financial activities.

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