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Unemployment Rate Holds at 3.5% in Massachusetts

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate remained at 3.5% in January, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 6,100 jobs in January. Over the month, the private sector lost 4,200 jobs; although gains occurred in professional, scientific, and business services; information; and other services. From January 2017 to January 2018, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 29,000 jobs.

The January unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 4.1% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Massachusetts continues to experience a low unemployment rate and labor force expansions,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said. “While the overall health of our economy remains strong, and 2017 marked the eighth consecutive year of job growth, persistent skills gaps remain. That is why our workforce-development partners remain committed to ensuring that those who are still unemployed or underemployed have access to the training resources they need to access high-demand jobs.”

The labor force increased by 2,200 from 3,657,300 in December, as 3,900 more residents were employed and 1,700 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased four-tenths of a percentage point from 3.9% in January 2017.

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 — remained at 65.3%. The labor force participation rate over the year has decreased by 0.2% compared to January 2017.

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

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