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Mass. Added 7,900 Jobs In Oct.; Rate Rises For 4th Straight Month

Mass. And U.S. Unemployment Rates Over Last Year:

BOSTON — The Massachusetts economy gained 7,900 jobs last month, and the state’s unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point, according to preliminary estimates released by the Office of Labor and Workforce Development on Thursday.

The Massachusetts jobless rate ticked up to 6.6 percent in October, according to the report, up from 6.5 percent in September. It’s the fourth straight month-over-month rate increase. In June, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 6 percent.

A year ago, in October 2011, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was 7.1 percent. Since that month, the state’s labor force has added 19,700 participants, according to the state office.

Massachusetts Labor Secretary Joanne Goldstein tied the labor force figure to the unemployment rate.

“There are more people entering the labor market, which we think is a good indicator that the economy continues to grow and head in the direction that we want,” she said.

The unemployment rate is based on a survey of households, while the jobs estimates are based on a survey of employers. Therefore, the monthly trends can diverge.

Among the nearly 8,000 jobs the state gained last month, both the construction sector and the professional, scientific and business sector added 2,400 jobs apiece. That’s good news for a construction sector that has now lost, according to the report, a total of 2,300 jobs over the year.

Jobs were also gained last month in the following sectors: financial activities (1,700); education and health services (1,300); manufacturing (400); government (400); and information (200).

Two sectors — trade, transportation and utilities (700), and leisure and hospitality (200) — reported job losses in October.

The report also revised downward the state’s job gains for September. The new figures show an increase of 2,700 jobs in September, compared to an earlier preliminary estimate of 5,100 jobs gained during the month.

Overall, Massachusetts has added 43,300 jobs so far in 2012.

Three years ago, in October 2009, the state’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.7 percent.

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