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Mass. Jobless Rate Holds Steady In October

The Massachusetts unemployment rate held steady at 7.3 percent in October, but officials say the state added 10,800 jobs during the month.

The jobless rate remains well below the 9 percent national average for October, and remains as the lowest monthly rate in the state since January 2009.

According to figures released Thursday by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state gained jobs last month in eight of the 10 major private sectors, including education and health services, financial activities and construction.

The gain followed a loss of 5,500 jobs in September, when the state's unemployment rate dipped from 7.4 to 7.3 percent.

The state's overall labor force increased by 12,400 in October, with a total of 253,500 Massachusetts residents out of work.

"It's hard to predict the speed of the progress," said Labor Secretary Joanne Goldstein. "We certainly do think we will see signs of continued progress. We are already seeing them and we continue to see them."

Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews says it's a "surprisingly strong" report, but he doesn't think it's a trend.

"It appears that the state has been slowing down in recent months and there's a high risk that that slowdown will continue because of what's happening in Europe and the problems we're having in our domestic economy as well," he said.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on November 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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