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Boston Unemployment Dips Slightly

Posted on April 19, 2010

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the state unemployment rate, along with Boston’s unemployment rate, fell from 9.5 percent in February to 9.3 percent in March.

Massachusetts remains below the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. Preliminary job estimates for March count 3,149,200 jobs in Massachusetts with 7,600 new jobs added to the state’s economy, and an increase of 5,700 in the labor force.

Jobs in Massachusetts grew by 7,600 in March after gaining 4,000 jobs (revised up from 1,500) in February. The Private Sector has added 12,700 jobs over the last two months with gains in eight of the sectors.

Within the sectors, Educational Services; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Arts, Entertainment and Recreation; Real Estate, Rental and Leasing; Non-Durable Goods; and Administrative and Support Services recorded job growth.

The March rate of job loss over-the-year is 1.6 percent. Construction; Manufacturing; Financial Activities and Trade, Transportation and Utilities continue to record the largest job losses while Education and Health Services continues to generate jobs, adding 12,000 jobs over-the-year.

The drop in the March unemployment rate was due to the larger increase of employed residents than those unemployed, which resulted in overall growth in the labor force.

This is the third monthly gain in the labor force indicating that more people are employed and more people who are not employed are entering the labor market and are looking for work. Increases in the jobs numbers, the decline in the unemployment rate and the lower levels of claims for the regular unemployment insurance program indicate recovery in the Massachusetts economy.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities gained 4,300 jobs or plus 0.8 percent, with gains in both Retail Trade and Wholesale Trade. Retail Trade added 2,200 jobs and Wholesale Trade added 2,000 jobs. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities gained 100 jobs. This is the third consecutive monthly job gain for Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and year-to-date, the sector has added 7,700 jobs compared to a job loss of 10,800 for the same time period last year. Over-the-year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities jobs are down 8,700 or minus 1.6 percent.

Financial Activities gained 1,800 jobs or plus 0.9 percent in March, the first monthly gain since October 2008. Finance and Insurance and Real Estate, Rental and Leasing each added 900 jobs. The gain in Finance and Insurance is the first since October 2009. Over-the-year, Financial Activities jobs are down 9,100 or minus 4.2 percent.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services gained 1,600 jobs or plus 0.4 percent with most of the gains in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, which added 1,200 jobs. Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services added 600 jobs with gains in both Employment Services and Services to Buildings and Dwellings. Management of Companies and Enterprises lost 200 jobs. Over-the-year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services jobs are down 7,700 or minus 1.7 percent.

Leisure and Hospitality gained 1,400 jobs or plus 0.5 percent, the second monthly gain since December. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation added 1,100 jobs with strong gains in Amusement, Gambling and Recreation. Accommodation and Food Services gained 300 jobs. Over-the-year, Leisure and Hospitality jobs are down 5,400 or minus 1.8 percent.

Government gained 400 jobs or plus 0.1 percent. Local Government gained 300 jobs. State Government gained 100 jobs, and Federal Government had no job change. Over-the-year, Government jobs are down 1,700 or minus 0.4 percent.

Manufacturing jobs were unchanged in March after the revised gain in February of 200 jobs. Non-Durable Goods added 500 jobs showing a second consecutive monthly gain. Durable Goods lost 500 jobs offsetting the Non-Durables Goods gain. Over-the-year, Manufacturing jobs are down 14,700 or minus 5.5 percent.

Information jobs were unchanged in March after the revised gain in February of 300 jobs. Year-to-date, Information has added 700 jobs. Over-the-year, Information is down 1,000 jobs or minus 1.2 percent.

Education and Health Services jobs were down 600 jobs or minus 0.1 percent due to losses in Educational Services. Education and Health services revised jobs figure for February is up 4,300. Health Care and Social Assistance added 300 jobs, showing job gains in six of the past seven months. Over the year, Education and Health Services added 12,000 jobs or plus 1.8 percent.

Other Services lost 500 jobs or minus 0.4 percent after adding 2,800 jobs in the revised February count. This sector had gained jobs the previous three months. Over-the-year, Other Services lost 300 jobs or minus 0.3 percent.

Construction lost 900 jobs following a 500 job gain in February. Over-the-year, Construction is down 16,000 jobs or minus 13.7 percent, with the current rate of job loss (13.7 percent) just below the rate (14.3 percent) from March 2008 to March 2009.

Job loss on an annual basis is trending downward. Massachusetts lost 112,700 jobs since December 2006; 122,600 jobs since January 2007; 150,500 since January 2008; and 81,000 jobs since January 2009.