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State Jobless Rate Continues to Drop

Staff Reports

BOSTON — Unemployment declined again across the state and was down about a half point from last year at this time. The Pittsfield metro area lost jobs in February, .3 percent, but its unadjusted unemployment rate is still lower than this time last year.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the February seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were down in 19 labor market areas; up in one area, Fall River; and unchanged in Nantucket and Tisbury. Statewide, the February seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, a decrease of 0.2 of a percentage point from the revised January rate of 8.9 percent.
Over-the-year, unemployment rates were lower in 20 of the 22 areas. The Amherst and Tisbury rates were up. Over-the-year, the state unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.6 of a percentage point from the 9.3 percent rate in February 2010.
In February, over-the-month jobs gains occurred in four of the areas for which job estimates are published. They were Boston-Cambridge-Quincy; Springfield; New Bedford; and Worcester areas.  Over-the-year job gains were realized in 10 of the areas while two had a loss. Job gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Worcester, Springfield, New Bedford, Barnstable, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Haverhill-North-Andover-Amesbury, Framingham, Pittsfield and Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner areas.

The Peabody and Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford areas lost jobs.
The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate released on March 17 showed a 15,400 job gain. The seasonally adjusted statewide February unemployment rate of 8.2 percent was down 0.1 of a percentage point over-the-month and down 0.6 of a percentage point from the 8.8 percent rate in February 2010.  The Massachusetts statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 8.9 percent.
The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.
The March 2011 unemployment rate, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be released on April 14, 2011; local unemployment statistics will be released on April 19, 2011.  Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi.

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