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Mass. Unemployment Rate Rises To 4.2 Percent

This article is more than 4 years old.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate has risen for the fifth straight month.

The state added an estimated 2,900 jobs in May, data released Thursday show, but the unemployment rate is now 4.2 percent — up from 3.9 percent a month ago.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in January. The national rate is currently 4.3 percent.

How the state unemployment rate has risen in recent months (Courtesy Mass. LWD)
How the state unemployment rate has risen in recent months (Courtesy Mass. LWD)

The state's labor force increased by 17,100 last month, as 4,900 more residents were employed and 12,200 more residents were unemployed over the month. To be counted as unemployed means a person is actively searching for a job.

The state's labor force participation rate — those working and actively seeking work — has risen 1.7 percent in a year, and now stands at 66.7 percent, which, according to state Labor Secretary Ronald Walker, is the highest rate since October 2008.

"As the pool of people actively searching for work increases, our workforce development agencies remain focused on ensuring that the next generation of job seekers have access to next generation job training," Walker said in a statement.

The state lost an estimated 800 jobs in April, following an initial report that it had added 3,900 jobs over the month.

The unemployment rate is based on a survey of households, and the jobs numbers are based on a survey of employers, and both are subject to revision, sometimes significantly.

With reporting by WBUR's Newscast Unit and Benjamin Swasey

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