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Mass. jobless rate dips under 4%

Massachusetts employers added 5,500 jobs in May while the statewide unemployment rate ticked downward 0.2 percentage points to 3.9%, labor officials announced Friday.

The vast majority of last month's job gains, about 4,800 positions, came in leisure and hospitality, an industry where seasonal changes often have an outsized impact. Education and health services, information, financial activities, government and manufacturing also added significant positions, while trade, transportation and utilities, construction, other services, and professional and business services shed jobs.

Since the pandemic-era low in April 2020, Massachusetts has added nearly 615,000 jobs, but total statewide employment still lags pre-pandemic levels.

The Bay State's unemployment rate stood slightly higher than the national rate of 3.6% for May, the Executive Office of Labor and Economic Development said, and the Massachusetts labor force participation rate of 66 percent also outstripped the national rate of 62.3%.

As economy-watchers explore the likelihood of another recession, lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker are poised to decide the details of major bills this summer that would fuel government spending in a bid to spark jobs and infrastructure spending and renew activity in downtown spaces hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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