Massachusetts added 2,800 jobs in June but the unemployment rate increased to 7.0 percent, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released today by the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. May's job gain was revised upward from 3,500 to 6,700.
Total employment continues to creep ahead, but gains are much slower than they were early in the year. This is in line with the indications provided by AIM's monthly Business Confidence Survey of employers, which shows lower expectations for new hiring based on prevailing economic uncertainties and concerns about the robustness of growth through the rest of 2013.
Over the year, these employment statistics – derived from the BLS's monthly survey of employers – report 40,300 additional jobs in the Commonwealth since last June – a respectable rate of growth that has brought total employment back above its pre-recession level.
The results of the BLS's survey of households are strikingly different, however. These are the numbers used to produce the unemployment rate, which has risen from 6.7 percent to 7.0 percent over the past year. While employers report 40,300 more employees compared to last June, the household survey finds only 3,600 more state residents with jobs; overall, employers report some 78,000 more employees than are found in the household survey. This discrepancy, attributable at least in part to people holding multiple part-time jobs, provides further evidence of lack of vigor in the labor market.
The state employment for June is consistent with the findings on the New England economic situation reported in the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, released yesterday: moderate growth, but generally stagnant hiring. More rapid growth must go hand in hand with more robust job creation.