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Mass. Jobless Rate Dips To 7.4 Percent

This article is more than 8 years old.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts dipped two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 7.4 percent, despite an estimated loss of nearly 9,000 jobs.

The state's unemployment rate remained well below the national rate, which stood at 9.1 percent in August.

Most of the job losses were in the information industry, which was hit by the Verizon workers strike.

The 7.4 percent rate was down from 7.6 percent in July and was the lowest monthly rate in Massachusetts since February 2009.

Preliminary estimates from the state Office of Labor and Workforce Development showed a loss of 8,900 jobs in August. Most of the job losses were in the information industry, which was hit by the Verizon workers strike.

About 6,000 workers who were on strike in Massachusetts were not counted as being employed because they were not on the company's payroll at the time of last month's survey. The striking workers later returned to their jobs after agreeing with the company to a process to settle their contract disputes.

Even without the Verizon loss, Massachusetts employers reduced jobs overall. Susan Fontana, with the staffing firm Manpower, says many companies aren’t sure about demand and want to hire.

"But they’re just placing their button on pause," Fontana said, "just to make sure that it will be sustainable."

The net job loss in August followed a gain of more than 10,000 jobs in July. While most sectors lost jobs last month, among those that gained were construction, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

Massachusetts has gained 47,700 private sector jobs so far this year, according to the office. The net year-to-date jobs gain is 41,800, due to reductions in the public sector workforce.

With reporting by The Associated Press and WBUR's Curt Nickisch

This article was originally published on September 15, 2011.

This program aired on September 15, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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