Mass. Adds 2,600 Jobs In January; Jobless Rate Down To 5.1 Percent

Massachusetts added an estimated 2,600 jobs in January and, following annual year-end revisions, the state unemployment rate ticked down to 5.1 percent, according to figures released Tuesday.

The Massachusetts jobless rate is now well below the national figure, which was 5.7 percent in January and then fell to 5.5 percent in February.

According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the state jobless rate of 5.1 percent is the lowest it's been since May 2008.

The U.S. and state unemployment rates (Courtesy of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development)
(Courtesy of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development)

The unemployment rate is just a ratio, so it can decline due to a plunging labor force as well, but Massachusetts' labor force increased by 4,800 in January — a sign the state economy is attracting job seekers.

Massachusetts will release its February jobs figures next week.

Tuesday's report also revised down slightly the number of jobs the state added in 2014, from an initially estimated 60,900 positions to 60,700. Still, it was Massachusetts' strongest year for job growth since 2000.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector led the state's jobs gains in January, adding 3,800 positions, while three sectors — leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and government — lost jobs.

The U.S. jobs report for January was strong, as the nation gained an estimated 257,000 positions,with revisions adding to previous months' gains.

The jobs figures and the unemployment rate are based on separate surveys — one of employers, the other of households — and both are subject to revision.

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



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