Mass. Adds 3,800 Jobs In February; Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.5 Percent

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The Massachusetts economy added 3,800 jobs in February and the state's unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent, according to federal estimates released Thursday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

"This just goes to show you that the Massachusetts economy is steady, it is humming along, and it is ticking up with more jobs, fewer unemployed and a very bright future," Rachel Kaprielian, the state labor secretary, told WBUR's Newscast Unit.

February's drop in the Massachusetts jobless rate, from 6.8 percent in January, means the state rate is once again below the national level, which is 6.7 percent. In November, the Massachusetts rate topped the U.S. level for the first time in more than six years.

(State labor department chart)
(State labor department chart)

The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points over the year, from 6.9 percent in February 2013.

Thursday's report also revised down the number of jobs the state lost in January, from an initial estimate of 4,500 to 3,900.

Nationwide, January was a disappointing month for job growth, while February saw U.S. employers add more jobs than expected.

Job growth in Massachusetts last month was powered by two sectors: professional, scientific and business services, with 6,200 jobs added; and trade, transportation and utilities, with 3,200 jobs added. The manufacturing (400), information (400) and government (800) sectors also gained jobs.

Five sectors in the state reported job losses in February, led by leisure and hospitality, which lost 3,600 jobs over the month.

Earlier this month, revisions showed that Massachusetts gained 55,200 jobs last year, the best December-December period since 2000, according to the state labor office.

And in the Boston area, 82 percent of business leaders surveyed by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce said they expect more job growth this year.

Only 3 percent surveyed said they plan to cut operations or employees.

With additional reporting by Asma Khalid

This article was originally published on March 20, 2014.

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.




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