Mass. Unemployment Rate Rises To 7.2 Percent

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The Massachusetts unemployment rate climbed to 7.2 percent in July, as the state added just 300 jobs and more residents began searching for work.

July's jobless rate is now the highest since September 2011.

Labor officials said leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utility sectors gained jobs last month while the manufacturing and government sectors lost jobs.

Revised federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates also revealed the state actually lost 2,100 jobs in June. Preliminary estimates had shown a 2,800 job gain.

Republicans were quick to seize on the lackluster jobs reports.

"The rising unemployment rate is a painful reminder that single-party dominance on Beacon Hill has led to job-killing tax hikes and worthless economic development policies," Kirsten Hughes, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, said Thursday.

But the state labor secretary, Joanne Goldstein, pointed to an increase in the state's labor force in July.

"The numbers suggest there are more individuals entering the labor market," she said, "and folks tend to enter the labor market when they're confident that they'll be able to find jobs."

The July estimates show more than 3.2 million Massachusetts residents were employed and 250,000 were searching for work.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households while job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. That means the two statistics can sometimes show different monthly trends.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on August 15, 2013.

This program aired on August 15, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.