February 7, 2019

Mass. added 5,600 jobs in December

Photo/Grant Welker
Crews have been taking down a former Worcester State Hospital building to make way for the Chinese biologics firm WuXi. The construction sector shrunk in December, but Massachusetts added 5,600 jobs.

The Massachusetts economy added 5,600 jobs in December, the state announced Thursday, with the unemployment rate dropping to 3.3 percent.

Private-sector jobs were added most in sectors including professional, scientific and business services, as well as education and health services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs fell for the month in some sectors, including construction, which nevertheless has had an increase in jobs over the past year.

December capped a year-to-year growth of 65,800 jobs in the state. The December unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The month-to-month unemployment rate change was a decrease of one tenth of a percentage point.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate is carried in large part by the Boston metro area, which had a December unemployment rate of just 2.4 percent, the second-best of any metro area in the country of 1 million people or more. The Worcester metro area, which includes Windham County in Connecticut, had an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.

Middlesex County, including much of MetroWest, is included in the Boston metro area.

The state's labor force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 68.1 percent. Compared to December 2017, the labor force participation rate was up 2.8 percentage points.

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