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Massachusetts Unemployment Drops Slightly in December

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.3% in December, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 5,600 jobs in December. Over the month, the private sector added 5,500 jobs as gains occurred in professional, scientific, and business services; other services; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; manufacturing; financial activities; and information. Construction and trade, transportation, and utilities lost jobs over the month. 

From December 2017 to December 2018, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 65,800 jobs. 

The December unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.9% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Preliminary estimates show an addition of 184,700 residents to the labor force during 2018 — the largest yearly increase in the labor force since the beginning of the series in 1976. These labor-force gains, alongside the 65,800 jobs added to the economy last year, are indicators of the continued strength of the job market in the Commonwealth,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said.

The labor force increased by 5,000 from 3,837,000 in November, as 8,800 more residents were employed and 3,800 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped two-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 68.1%. Compared to December 2017, the labor-force participation rate is up 2.8%.  

The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in professional, scientific, and business services; information; other services; and education and health services.

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