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Unemployment Rises Slightly in Massachusetts in January

BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for January were up in all 24 labor market areas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), compared to December 2014 rates. However, compared to January 2014, over-the-year unemployment rates were down in all of the labor market areas.

BLS also released job and unemployment estimates for the new geographical boundaries of the labor market areas that were redrawn based on 2010 Census area delineations. These changes allow job estimates to be published for 15 areas, and labor-force and unemployment-rate estimates to be released for 24 areas.

During January 2015, both Massachusetts and the 15 local areas for which job estimates are published experienced seasonal job losses. Since January 2014, all 15 areas added jobs. The Barnstable, Lawrence, Worcester, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Framingham, and Pittsfield areas added more jobs than over the same time period last year.

In order to compare to the local unemployment rates, the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.6%, up 0.7% from the revised December 2014 rate. Over the year, the statewide unadjusted rate was down 1.3% from the January 2014 rate of 6.9%. The seasonally adjusted statewide January unemployment rate, released on March 10, was 5.1%, down 0.2% over the month and down 1.0% over the year. The rate was 0.6% below the national unemployment rate.

The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a 2,600-job gain in January and an over-the-year gain of 68,000 jobs. Once a year, BLS revises and updates area job estimates, which are available back to 1990.

The revised labor-force and unemployment rates go back to 2014. The labor force, unemployment rates and jobs estimates for Massachusetts and every other state are based on several different statistical methodologies specified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unadjusted unemployment rates, labor force, and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and, therefore, may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

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