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Massachusetts lost 7,100 jobs last month, according to preliminary federal estimates released by the state on Thursday.
The disappointing state jobs report follows the September federal employment report, released Oct. 2, which was similarly disappointing and with U.S. job growth that was below analysts' expectations.
The Massachusetts report found the state unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last month, from 4.7 percent in August. But that drop was driven by a decline of 21,900 in the Massachusetts labor force over the month.
The state labor force participation rate — the number of residents who worked or actively looked for work over four weeks — dipped 0.4 percent.
The overall Massachusetts jobless rate has fallen from 5.6 percent a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 5.1 percent.
"Massachusetts' unemployment rate continues to decline. Although the state experienced job losses in September, the overall jobs picture is strong," state Labor Secretary Ronald Walker II said in a statement.
The September job losses were led by the education and health services sector, which shed 4,700 positions, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which lost 3,000 jobs over the month.
The jobs figures are based on a survey of employers, with the unemployment rate based on a survey of households. Both the jobs numbers and the unemployment rate are subject to revision.
Also Thursday, the New England Economic Partnership released its fall outlook, which predicts the Massachusetts unemployment rate will drop to 4.1 percent in 2018.
The partnership also expects a slowdown in Massachusetts economic growth over the next few years, attributed to an aging workforce.
With additional reporting by the State House News Service
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