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State Adds Jobs for Fourth Straight Month

Staff Reports

BOSTON — Massachusetts has added jobs for the fourth straight month, a sign that it may be recovering from financial downturn

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday that preliminary job estimates for May count 3,182,400 jobs in Massachusetts with 15,800 jobs added this month – including 7,000 in the private sector. The state unemployment rate remained at 9.2 percent, below the national rate of 9.7 percent.

Local statistics will be available June 22.

The private sector added 7,000 jobs mainly in the Leisure and Hospitality, Education and Health Services and Construction (4,800 since March) sectors. Leisure and Hospitality added 4,700 jobs (plus-1.6 percent) in May with job gains in Accommodation and Food Services more than offsetting the losses in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (500 jobs). It's the second time in three months jobs have been added to Leisure and Hospitality.

Over-the-year, Education and Health Services added 18,300 jobs (plus-2.8 percent) with job growth in both Educational Services and Health Care and Social Assistance.

Government added 8,800 jobs mostly because of the federal government's temporary hiring for the Census. The May job growth follows on a revised 18,700 (previously reported as 19,100) jobs gain in April, of which 15,800 were private sector jobs.

Even with this latest revision, last month's jobs gain remains the highest jobs growth figure in 17 years. The March to April 2010 private sector gain was 15,800 jobs, the largest over the month private sector jobs gain in 11 years.

Since December 2009, the state has added 44,800 jobs with 34,500 or 77 percent of these jobs gains occurring in the private sector. Jobs growth has occurred in seven of the nine private sectors year-to-date. Education and Health Services added the most jobs, Professional, Scientific and Business Services recording the largest percentage gain in jobs, and the Construction sector and the Retail and Wholesale Trade industries gained jobs.

The May estimates show 3,165,900 Massachusetts residents were employed and 320,400 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,486,400. The labor force is 11,400 above last year's level, with 23,100 fewer residents employed and 34,300 more residents' unemployed than one year ago. Totals may not add exactly due to rounding.

Year-to-date, job growth has extended into most sectors. Trends for jobs, the unemployment rate and unemployment insurance claims figures are encouraging signs of economic improvement for the state.

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