Mass. Jobless Rate Rose In December To 7.4%

A man walks out of a Marc's Store, Jan. 8, 2021, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (Tony Dejak/AP file)
A man walks out of a Marc's Store, Jan. 8, 2021, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (Tony Dejak/AP file)

The state's unemployment rate ticked back up in December, climbing to 7.4% and again rising above the national average, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday morning.

Preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Massachusetts lost 600 jobs in December, led by a drop of 9,200 leisure and hospitality jobs last month. Though the private sector actually added 5,200 jobs in December, it was not enough to make up for the 5,800 lost jobs in the public sector.

At 7.4%, the Massachusetts unemployment rate is worse than the national average rate of 6.7%. It is also more than two and a half times the rate from one year ago, 2.8%, according to EOLWD.

Massachusetts has lagged most other states when it comes to recovering jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic and some trends in the state's labor market data "implying deeper labor market challenges" were highlighted this week in a report from Fitch Ratings.

The Massachusetts labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who have actively sought work in the last four weeks, increased by 70,400 to 3,658,500 in November. EOLWD said there were 3,386,700 Massachusetts residents employed and 271,800 residents unemployed. The labor participation rate, which reflects the percentage of working-age adults who are either employed or seeking a job, was up 1.2 percentage points to 64.5%.

Compared to one year ago, EOLWD said there are 340,900 fewer residents employed and 165,200 more residents unemployed, meaning they are actively seeking work.



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