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June 21, 2024

Mass. unemployment rate increases for first time in three months

Inside a factory with yellow beams, green, yellow, and white machines, and flags lining the upper right hand wall. Photo | WBJ File The Massachusetts unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage in May.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 3.0% in May but still remained a full percentage point lower than the national rate of 4.0%.

This rate increase follows three consecutive months in which the Massachusetts unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.9% and reflects an overall decrease by 0.3 percentage points from May 2023, according to a Friday press release from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The total Massachusetts labor workforce was 3,782,700 in May, with 115,200 of those in the workforce unemployed, according to the BLS.

May saw 7,500 more residents employed and 6,000 more residents unemployed from April. The labor force increased by 13,600 from April and was up 29,300 from May 2023 with 39,300 more employed residents and 10,100 fewer unemployed residents. 

May’s labor force participation rate, a category defined as the number of residents 16 years and older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks, increased by 0.2 percentage points from April. This increase brought May’s labor force participation rate to 65.3%, 0.2 percentage points higher than in May 2023.

Industries that experienced the largest job increase over-the-month were leisure and hospitality, which gained 2,900 jobs, education and health services, which gained 2,500 jobs, and construction, which gained 1,400 jobs. 

Since unemployment rate estimates are gathered through a monthly sample of households and job estimates are collected via a monthly sample survey of employers, the two statistics may show divergent monthly trends, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

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