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State Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9% in August

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% in August from 4.1% in July, and preliminary estimates show the state gained 5,900 jobs over the month, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported.

The last time the state’s unemployment rate hit 3.9% was in August 2001. At 3.9%, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down 0.9% over the year from 4.8% in August 2015. There were 30,300 fewer unemployed residents and 73,000 more employed residents over the year compared to August 2015. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate of 4.9% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state added fewer jobs over the month in July than the Bureau of Labor Statistics originally estimated, gaining 5,800 jobs compared to the previously published 7,300-job-gain estimate. Year to date, December 2015 to August 2016, Massachusetts has added 61,000 jobs.

In August, the largest over-the-month job gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality, education and health services, 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 65.0%. Over the year, the labor-force participation rate has increased 0.2% compared to August 2015.

Over the year, the largest private sector percentage job gains were in construction; leisure and hospitality; professional, scientific, and business services; and education and health services.

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