Massachusetts unemployment down to 2.9%; employment up by 6,300 jobs

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Unemployment down to 2.9%; Employment up by 6,300 jobs

BOSTON, MA – March, 2024The state’s February total unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the revised January estimate of 3.0 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday. The Massachusetts unemployment rate was 1 percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over-the-year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 0.7 percentage points.

The labor force decreased by an estimated 1,700 from the revised estimate of 3,750,200 in January, with 2,500 residents more employed and 4,200 fewer residents unemployed over-the-month. 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 – decreased 0.1 percentage point over-the-month, to 64.8 percent. Compared to February 2023, the labor force participation rate was down 0.3 percentage points.

The BLS preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 6,300 jobs in February. This follows January’s revised gain of 11,500 jobs. The largest over-the-month private sector job gains were in Education and Health Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. Employment now stands at 3,738,900. Massachusetts gained 675,400 jobs since the employment low in April 2020.

From February 2023 to February 2024, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 24,800 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in Education and Health Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Government.

February 2024 Employment Overview

Education and Health Services gained 2,000 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 20,300 were added.

Leisure and Hospitality gained 1,900 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 6,300 were added.

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 1,700 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 3,300 were lost.

Construction gained 1,100 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 2,300 were added.

Professional, Scientific, and Business Services gained 500 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 2,700 were lost.

Financial Activities gained 400 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 1,400 were added.

Government gained 200 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 4,500 were added.

Other Services lost 100 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 3,500 were added.

Information lost 600 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 4,400 were lost.

Manufacturing lost 700 jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, 3,100 were lost.

Labor Force Overview

The February estimates show 3,638,500 Massachusetts residents were employed and 110,000 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,748,500. The unemployment rate at 2.9 percent was down 0.1 percentage point from the revised January rate of 3.0 percent. Over-the-month, the February labor force decreased by 1,700 from 3,750,200 in January, with 2,500 more residents employed and 4,200 fewer residents unemployed. The labor force participation rate, the share of the working age population employed and unemployed, decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 64.8 percent. The labor force was up 300 from the February 2023 estimate of 3,738,800 following the annual revision, with 23,500 more employed residents, and 23,200 fewer unemployed residents.

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.

For further information on seasonal adjustment methodology, please refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website https://www.bls.gov.

The preliminary March 2024 and revised February 2024 unemployment rate, labor force, and job estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/economicresearch.