Employment in Massachusetts grew more steadily over the past two years than had previously been reported, but the unemployment rate has stalled in the 6.6-6.8% range, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The revised benchmark numbers, released in conjunction with the January 2013 employment report, adjust earlier estimates for 2011 and 2012 based on actual reports from employers (though the third quarter of 2012), which are more accurate than the survey data used in the preliminary reports.
The new data show that Massachusetts created 92,800 jobs in 2011 and 2012, one-third (32,100) more than previously estimated. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, barely moved during 2012, never fluctuating by more than a tenth of a point from month to month and ending up at 6.7% in January 2013 compared to 6.8% a year before.
While job growth in most employment during 2011-12 was revised upward, Manufacturing (down 3,600 instead of up 1,200) and Professional, Scientific and Business Services (up 25,500 rather than 32,700) were exceptions. The weaker performance of these sectors, which were hit hard in the recession, requires us to reconsider our understanding of the subsequent recovery.
Manufacturing and Professional, Scientific and Business Services both added jobs in January. Employment in the Commonwealth grew by 16,100, and by 19,300 in the private sector (these of course are preliminary data).