The Massachusetts Employment Situation: Unemployment rate rises slightly to 5.0%

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EastBoston.com file photograph

Boston, MA — The state’s August total unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point at 5.0 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 2,600 jobs in August. This follows last month’s revised gain of 41,600 jobs. The largest over the month private sector job gains were in Construction and Other Services. Since December 2020, Massachusetts has gained 147,200 jobs.

From August 2020 to August 2021, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 184,700 jobs. Gains occurred in all sectors, except for Government, led by Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Trade, Transportation and Utilities.

The August unemployment rate was 0.2 percentage point below the national rate of 5.2 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force increased by 7,900 from 3,701,600 in July, as 2,900 more residents were employed and 5,000 more residents were unemployed over the month.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 4.3 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 0.1 percentage point at 65.7 percent. Compared to August 2020, the labor force participation rate is up 1.7 percentage points.

August 2021 Employment Overview

Government gained 3,800 (+0.9%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 700 (-0.2%) jobs were lost.

Construction gained 1,500 (+0.9%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 13,300 (+8.6%) jobs were added.

Other Services gained 1,300 (+1.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 9,200 (+8.7%) jobs were added.

Leisure and Hospitality gained 400 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 62,500 (+26.2%) jobs were added.

Education and Health Services lost 200 jobs (-0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 10,800 (+1.4%) jobs were added.

Manufacturing lost 300 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 9,100 jobs (+4.0%) jobs were added.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 800 (-0.1%) over the month. Over the year, 32,900 (+6.3%) jobs were added.

Professional and Business Services lost 800 (-0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 38,700 (+6.8%) jobs were added.

Financial Activities lost 1,100 (-0.5%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 2,400 (+1.1%) jobs were added.

Information lost 1,200 (-1.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, 6,500 (+7.6%) jobs were added.

Labor Force Overview

The August estimates show 3,524,000 Massachusetts residents were employed and 185,400 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,709,400. The unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point at 5.0 percent. Over the month, the August labor force was up by 7,900 from 3,701,600 in July, with 2,900 more residents employed and 5,000 more residents unemployed. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, was up one-tenth of a percentage point at 65.7 percent. The labor force was up 95,000 from the 3,614,400 August 2020 estimate, as 246,400 more residents were employed and 151,400 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.