May 18, 2017

Mass. unemployment inched up in April

Grant Welker
Construction on Front and Foster streets in downtown Worcester in May. The state unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent in April.

The Massachusetts economy added 3,900 jobs in April, as the statewide unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9 percent.

The labor force participation rate in Massachusetts, or the number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively looking for work in the last four weeks, moved up slightly, reaching 66.5 percent in April. Since April 2016, that rate has increased by 1.5 percent, according to a release from the state.

"These job gains, coupled with large increases to the labor force and a low unemployment rate, are signs of a strong economy in the commonwealth," said Ronald Walker, secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. "Our workforce agencies remain focused on closing the skills gap and ensuring that those newly entering the job market have the training necessary to access employment opportunities."

The biggest employment gains came from the professional, scientific and business services sector, which added 6,100 jobs in April and 18,100 in a year-over-year analysis. Other sectors reported more modest gains, like education and health services (1,100 jobs), and trade, transportation and utilities (1,000 jobs). Both of those sectors grew over the course of the year; education and health services added 18,300 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities added 4,200.

Other sectors reported losses. The leisure and hospitality sector, which has added 500 jobs since last April, lost 2,400 over the month, and construction, which has added 3,800 year-over-year, lost 1,000 in April. The manufacturing sector added 200 jobs but has lost 2,000 since last year.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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