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Mass. Unemployment Rate Is At 3.5 Percent

The state unemployment rate dropped slightly in the final month of 2017, falling by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent despite a loss of 500 jobs, state officials announced Thursday.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate now stands six-tenths of a point lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

The state shed 500 jobs last month, but officials announced Thursday that estimates had been revised to show a gain of 7,800 jobs in November, rather than the 6,700 additional jobs originally announced.

Over the year, the state's unemployment rate increased four-tenths of a percentage point from 3.1 percent in December 2016, but employers also added 63,000 jobs in 2017. There were 17,900 more unemployed residents last month compared to December 2016, the state said.

"Throughout 2017, the Commonwealth continued to experience steady economic growth, adding 63,000 jobs, over 64,000 additional residents participating in the labor force, and closing out the year with a low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent," Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said in a statement. "While much of these job gains continue to be in sectors like Professional, Business, and Scientific Services, Manufacturing also posted a preliminary 2,800 over the year job gain, the first over the year over job gain in that sector in 18 years."

Estimates for December found that 3,518,900 Massachusetts residents were employed last month and another 128,000 were unemployed — a total labor force of 3,646,900, according to Labor and Workforce Development.

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