Massachusetts Unemployment

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Massachusetts Unemployment Statistics & News

Massachusetts Unemployment Stats

Current and Historical Massachusetts Stats Analysis

As of August 2016, the Massachusetts statewide unemployment rate is just 3.9 percent. The last time the state’s unemployment rate was that low was 2001. The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate is currently a full point under the national average of 4.9 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Massachusetts added 5,800 jobs to the labor market in July 2016, and 61,000 jobs from December 2015 to August 2016. In August alone, the Commonwealth experienced  job growth primarily in leisure and hospitality, health, education, and other services job sectors. About 65 percent of state residents age 16 or older worked or were actively seeking work in August, up by 0.2 percent from the same time last year.

Over the past year, the state’s job growth was mainly in construction, health, education, leisure and hospitality, professional, business, and scientific services. Out of a labor force totaling 3,610,500 people, 3,468,800 residents were employed, while 141,700 were unemployed, based on a monthly sample of Massachusetts households.

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Massachusetts Unemployment News

Massachusetts Unemployment in the News

Massachusetts currently has the lowest unemployment rate statewide since 2001. The demand for jobs is up and the number of available workers is down, trending toward a labor market that favors employees over employers. This trend contrasts with a job market that has allowed employers to be picky for the past six years or so, and workers with little or no skills were let go or refused jobs.

In today’s jobs environment, employers are more likely to hold on to their current employees, and are willing to train unskilled workers, raise wages, and give big cash bonuses to employees who recruit other workers to the company.  Despite appearances, the Massachusetts economy may not be as stable as it appears at first glance. There are still a high number of workers in the state who work part-time, but want full-time jobs who are wary of the seemingly dramatic recovery.

The recent increase in the employment rate, however, hasn’t affected everyone the same throughout the state. Just 66.3 percent of men are employed, compared to 71 percent in 2007. And the unemployment rate for non-whites and Hispanics has not recovered since the recession, with the employment rate for minorities at nearly 59 percent in August, down from 63 percent before the recession.

“Many people feel left out or left behind by the recovery,” said Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economics professor at Northeastern University, in an interview with the Boston Globe.

Still, economists are fairly confident there won’t be another recession like the ones of the 1990s and 2000s in the near future, citing that the employment rate has remained slow and steady. State officials want to keep the labor market growing equally across all population demographics, so they’re promoting skills-training to ensure that more residents are able to find suitable jobs.

“There are still 140,000 unemployed in Massachusetts,” said Ronald Walker II, secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. “We still want to make sure every citizen in the Commonwealth has an opportunity to participate in this growth.” [Deirdre Fernandez. Mass. unemployment rate at lowest point since 2001. Boston Globe. Sep. 15, 2016. Accessed Sep. 23, 2016]