January numbers: State’s unemployment rate increases slightly to 4.8 percent, above national average.


Massachusetts Unemployment & Job Estimates for January 

BOSTON, MA  – The state’s January total unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage points at 4.8 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 10,600 jobs in January. This follows last month’s revised gain of 14,500 jobs. The largest over the month private sector job gains were in Professional, Scientific, and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, Construction, and Manufacturing. Employment now stands at 3,609,000.  Since the employment trough in April 2020, Massachusetts gained 558,000 jobs. 

From January 2021 to January 2022, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 178,100 jobs. The largest over the year gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Education and Health Services. Financial Activities was the only sector to see job losses. 

The January unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was 0.8 percentage point above the national rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Spinning Factory

The labor force increased by an estimated 15,700 from 3,751,500 in December, as 9,400 more residents were employed, and 6,200 more residents were unemployed over the month. 

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 2.3 percentage points.  

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 – was up three-tenths of a percentage point at 65.8 percent. Compared to January 2021, the labor force participation rate was up 0.6 percentage points. 

Annual year-end revisions and updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau resulted in changes to the labor force estimates from 2017 to 2021, with the most notable revisions in 2020 and 2021. The revisions showed the unemployment rates were higher, ranging from 0.1 to 2.9 percentage points, than the previously published estimates for the months of January to May and July to October in 2020. In 2021, the months of May, June, July and December had upward revisions, ranging from 0.7 to 1.1 percentage points. 

January 2022 Employment Overview 

Professional and Business Services gained 5,600 (+0.9%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 33,000 (+5.6%) jobs were added. 

Leisure and Hospitality gained 3,800 (+1.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 75,300 (+29.3%) jobs were added. 

Construction gained 1,400(+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 9,000 (+5.6%) jobs were added. 

Manufacturing gained 1,000 (+0.4%) jobsover the month. Over the year, 5,800 (+2.5%) jobs were added. 

Government gained 800 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 10,600 (+2.5%) jobs were added. 

Information gained 300 (+0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 4,100 (+4.5%) jobs were added. 

Other Services gained 100 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 10,100 (+8.6%) jobs were added. 

Financial Activities had no change in jobs over the month. Over the year, 3,700 (-1.7%) jobs were lost. 

Education and Health Services lost 300 (-0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 23,300 (+3.0%) jobs were added. 

Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 2,100 (-0.4%) over the month. Over the year, 10,500 (+1.9%) jobs were added. 

Labor Force Overview 

The January estimates show 3,586,700 Massachusetts residents were employed and 180,400 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,767,200. The unemployment rate was up 0.2 percentage points at 4.8 percent from the revised December rate of 4.6 percent. Over the month, the January labor force was up by 15,700 from 3,751,500 in December, with 9,400 more residents employed and 6,200 more residents unemployed. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, increased by 0.3 percentage point at 65.8 percent. The labor force was up 31,600 from the January 2021 estimate of 3,735,600, as 115,300 more residents were employed, and 83,700 fewer residents were unemployed. 

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.  


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

Local area unemployment statistics for January 2022 will be released on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. The preliminary February 2022 and revised January 2022 unemployment rate, labor force and job estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Friday, March 25, 2022. See the 2022 Media Advisory annual schedule for a complete list of release dates. 

Detailed labor market information is available at mass.gov/lmi