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August Unemployment Rate Drops To 3.9 Percent

Sep 15, 2016 12:02PM ● By Bill Gilman

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

The last time the state's unemployment rate hit 3.9 percent was in August 2001. At 3.9 percent, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down 0.9 percent over the year from 4.8 percent 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 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state added less 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 percent. Over the year, the labor force participation rate has increased 0.2 of a percentage point 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.

August 2016 Employment Overview

Leisure and Hospitality gained 2,200 (+0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality added 10,400 (+3.0%) jobs.

Education and Health Services gained 1,200 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 20,200 (+2.6%) jobs.

Other Services added 1,100 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services are up 800 (+0.6%) jobs.

Construction added 900 (+0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has gained 11,700 (+8.4%) jobs.

Information gained 900 (+1.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information added 1,200 (+1.4%) jobs.

Financial Activities added 700 (+0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities gained 3,200 (+1.4%) jobs.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities gained 700 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 2,600 (+0.5%) jobs.

Manufacturing added 600 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing lost 100 (0.0%) jobs.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 1,400 (-0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 15,300 (+2.8%) jobs.

Government lost 1,000 (-0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government gained 2,800 (+0.6%) jobs.

Labor Force Overview

The August estimates show 3,468,800 Massachusetts residents were employed and 141,700 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,610,500. The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. The August labor force increased by 5,900 from 3,604,600 in July, as 10,300 more residents were employed and 4,400 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, was 65.0 percent.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different monthly trends.

NOTES: The labor force is the sum of the numbers of employed residents and those unemployed, that is residents not working but actively seeking work in the last four weeks. Estimates may not add up to the total labor force due to rounding.
Beginning with the March 2011 estimates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has assumed responsibility for the production of the CES State and sub-state jobs estimates. BLS has also implemented methodological changes which may increase the month to month variability of the estimates. See Changes to procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) State estimates.

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