State Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.8% in December
BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped to 2.8% in December, marking the sixth consecutive month the rate has declined, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday. The last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 2.8% was in December 2000.
In December, preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate Massachusetts added 6,600 jobs over the month. The November job gain had an upward revision, with the state adding 7,000 jobs compared to the previously published 5,800-job-gain estimate. Over the year, Massachusetts has added 75,000 jobs.
At 2.8%, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down 2.1% over the year from 4.9% in December 2015. There were 73,300 fewer unemployed residents and 112,900 more employed residents over the year compared to December 2015.
“For the past six months, the unemployment has continued to drop, and the labor-force participation rate has held steady over the year, which is very good news for the state,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II said. “We are also pleased to see the state continues to add jobs in key sectors, such as education and health services; professional, scientific, and business services; information; and construction.”
In December, over-the-month job gains occurred in the education and health services; construction; professional, scientific, and business services; information; leisure and hospitality; financial activities; manufacturing; and other services sectors.
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 — is 64.7%. Over the year, the labor-force participation rate has increased 0.2% compared to December 2015.
Over the year, the largest private-sector percentage job gains were in construction; professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality.
Massachusetts’ unemployment rate has remained lower than the national rate since April 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the December national rate at 4.7%. Since the statewide rate peaked at 8.8% in September 2009, there are now 335,600 more Massachusetts residents employed and 202,700 fewer residents unemployed, as the labor force increased by 133,000.