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August 16, 2019

Mass. unemployment inches down to 2.9%

Photo | Grant Welker Residential construction in Framingham

The Massachusetts unemployment rate ticked down to 2.9% in July despite the estimated loss of 3,500 jobs, according to new data released Friday.

The state's unemployment rate improved by one-tenth of a percentage point from June, according to the the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, landing it tied for seventh best nationally. In July 2018, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was 3.6%. The national unemployment rate for July was 3.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the drop, fewer people were counted as employed in Massachusetts last month, an even greater number were recorded as out of work and searching for employment.

The labor force, which includes people out of work but searching for a job, fell by 4,400 month-to-month, according to the state. The state's labor force stood at more than 3.8 million, with an unemployment rate below 4% for more than three years.

Despite the mixed job picture for July, the Massachusetts job market has still been growing, adding what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates is 37,300 jobs in the last 12 months.

In the latest figures for the city of Worcester, the unemployment rate in June was 4.0%. That's an improvement from a rate of 4.7% from a year prior, even as the city's labor force and pool of employed workers have both shrunk slightly.

June unemployment rates were 4.2% in Fitchburg, 2.5% in Framingham, 3.4% in Leominster and 2.6% in Marlborough. Across the Worcester metropolitan area, which includes Worcester County and Windham County in Connecticut, the unemployment rate in June was 3.5%.

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