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Mass. Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.1 Percent

The Massachusetts unemployment rate is at its lowest in over a year and has shown its steepest two-month drop since 1976.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday the total unemployment rate dropped from 8.4 percent in September to 8.1 percent in October. The rate was 8.8 percent in August.

The national rate is 9.6 percent.

"Job creation has been priority No. 1 since day one and that strategy is propelling Massachusetts out of this recession faster and stronger than other states," Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. "I will not rest until everyone who is looking for a job can find one."

Preliminary job estimates for October show 3.19 million jobs in Massachusetts, an increase of 10,000. Approximately 5,000 of those jobs came from education and health services, while the leisure-and-hospitality and manufacturing sectors also had gains.

Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economist at Northeastern University, says this again shows the Massachusetts economy is not as centered on the struggling consumer economy as other states.

"We are still much more concentrated in technology and supplying business investment and knowledge-based and science-based goods and services to around the world," he said.

But Clayton-Matthews expects economic problems around the world and the rest of the country to slow economic growth here over the next half-year.

The report does not factor in over 1,000 layoffs announced by Massachusetts employers since Election Day on Nov. 2.

WBUR's Curt Nickisch contributed reporting.

This program aired on November 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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