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Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.5% in Massachusetts

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% in December, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 300 jobs in December. Over the month, the private sector lost 200 jobs; gains occurred in construction, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and financial activities. The November estimate was revised to a gain of 7,800 jobs.

From December 2016 to December 2017, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 63,000 jobs. The December unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 4.1% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Throughout 2017, the Commonwealth continued to experience steady economic growth, adding 63,000 jobs, over 64,000 additional residents participating in the labor force, and closing out the year with a low unemployment rate of 3.5%. While much of these job gains continue to be in sectors like professional, business, and scientific services, manufacturing also posted a preliminary 2,800 over-the-year job gain, the first over-the-year over job gain in that sector in 18 years,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said.

The labor force decreased by 500 from 3,647,500 in November, as 1,900 more residents were employed and 2,500 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased four-tenths of a percentage point from 3.1% in December 2016. There were 17,900 more unemployed residents over the year compared to December 2016.

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 — decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 65.3% over the month. The labor-force participation rate over the year has increased by 0.7% compared to December 2016.

The largest private sector percentage job gains over the year were in construction; professional, scientific, and business services; other services; and leisure and hospitality.

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