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Massachusetts employers added 6,600 new jobs in February, bringing the total seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down slightly to 3 percent, but the rate of growth has slowed in recent months, according to data released Friday.
The latest batch of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates most of the February job gains in Massachusetts came in education and health services, professional, scientific and business services, and leisure and hospitality.
Massachusetts' unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from January. Only 10 states had lower unemployment rates, federal data shows, and the national rate last month was 3.8 percent.
"The Commonwealth continues to experience job and labor force growth alongside an unemployment rate that has remained below 4 percent for 34 consecutive months," Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said in statement. "Our workforce development agencies remain committed to ensuring that all regions and communities in Massachusetts can better access our high demand job categories during this period of strong economic growth."
The rate of job growth has slowed. From February 2017 to February 2018, Massachusetts added 53,200 jobs, but from February 2018 to February 2019, it added only 20,300, according to the federal estimates. The total labor force also grew at a slower rate over the last year than it did in the year before.
The Massachusetts unemployment rate decreased in that span from 3.8 percent in February 2017 to 3.6 percent in February 2018 to 3 percent in February 2019.
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