Mass. Unemployment Rate Drops To 7.3 Percent

Massachusetts officials are reporting a one-tenth of a point drop in the state's unemployment rate last month, despite a decrease in jobs.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that the September jobless rate stood at 7.3 percent, down from 7.4 percent in August.

Massachusetts remains well below the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Preliminary estimates showed there were 2,300 fewer jobs in Massachusetts in September than in the previous month. But officials say the state has gained nearly 50,000 jobs over the past 12 months for a growth rate of 1.5 percent, compared to a national job growth rate of 1.1 percent over the same period.

Labor Secretary Joanne Goldstein says overall, the state is headed in the right direction.

"This month is relatively consistent with what we've seen: a down-tick in the unemployment rate and still creating jobs in the commonwealth," Goldstein said.

The state's monthly unemployment rate is at its lowest point since January 2009.

Bay State employers tell a slightly different story.

"Companies are being more strategic in some of the hiring efforts that they have," said Sean Dowling, of the staffing firm Robert Half International. "So you’re not seeing the high demand."

Dowling says there is some specialty hiring. Employers added jobs in education and health care and, most of all, IT. But many of those can be traced to Verizon workers ending their strike.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on October 20, 2011.

This program aired on October 20, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live