April 20, 2017

March unemployment hits 3.6%

The state's unemployment rate ticked up again in March, rising to 3.6 percent from February's 3.4 percent.

Data released Thursday by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show 3.53 million Massachusetts residents were employed and 131,300 unemployed in March, for a total labor force of 3,661,300 people. With 26,700 more people employed and 7,900 more unemployed, the labor force increased by 34,500 people from February.

"Massachusetts continues to experience substantial increases to the labor force," Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II said in a statement. "As new workers enter the job market, our workforce agencies remain focused on fostering an employment environment where employee skill sets are better aligned to future job sector growth."

The state unemployment rate has risen each month since hitting 2.9 percent in November, though it remains lower than the national rate of 4.5 percent.

The state added 200 jobs last month, labor officials said. The financial activities sector experienced the biggest gains, adding 2,500 jobs over the month. Professional, scientific and business services added 800 jobs.

The biggest monthly job losses were in trade, transportation and utilities (2,300 jobs) and education and health services (1,800 jobs).

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