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Massachusetts added 9,100 jobs last month, and the state unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 5.6 percent, according to preliminary estimates out Thursday.
The total number of jobs in Massachusetts had already surpassed the pre-2008 recession figure, and with the robust job growth in May, the state has now passed its high from before the 2001 recession, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. It added that Massachusetts employment is now at its highest level since 1990.
That's despite Thursday's report also revising the jobs picture in April of this year, from an initial estimate of 1,600 jobs lost, to a new estimate of 2,000 jobs lost.
May's big drop in the state unemployment rate — below the 6 percent threshold — furthers a steep decline over the last six months. In December, the jobless rate was at 7.1 percent.
But the news isn't all positive. According to the report, the state's labor force decreased by 3,800 over the month of May. That can also drive down the unemployment rate.
The national jobless rate is currently at 6.3 percent.
The Massachusetts unemployment rate and the state jobs estimate are based on separate surveys, which are subject to revision.
Last month's job growth in Massachusetts was led by the leisure and hospitality sector (4,200 jobs added) and the education and health services sector (3,300 jobs added).