Employment growth in Massachusetts has ground to a halt.
The state announced this morning that Massachusetts added just 300 jobs last month (2,500 in the private sector), while revisions turned a preliminary 2,800-job gain in June into a 2,100-job loss. Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Information; Financial Activities; and Professional, Scientific, and Business Services all added jobs in July.
Unemployment rose to 7.2 percent, the third straight monthly increase. The rate was up 0.2 percentage points from June, and 0.4 percentage points from last July. The national unemployment rate meanwhile, declined by 0.8 percentage points to 7.4 percent over the year.
Over the full year, Massachusetts has gained 40,100 jobs, but only 15,900 of those were added in 2013, reflecting slower growth. A separate household survey shows only 5,100 more state residents employed, and 15,000 more unemployed, since last July.
The employment numbers confirm recent statistics showing that while the U.S. economy expanded at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2013, the growth rate of the Massachusetts economy for the quarter fell to 0.8 percent. Although Massachusetts has recouped the jobs lost in the recession, its unemployment rate is still high and now rising, while national unemployment, even higher, continues to decline.
While this local news is not good, one hopeful sign for Massachusetts comes from Europe, where statistics released earlier this week show the Eurozone returning to growth in the second quarter after six quarters of contraction. These results were better than expected, with actual expansion in the two largest national economies, Germany and France, and improvement in Italy and Spain.
Because Massachusetts ranks second among all states in its dependence on exports to Europe, the recession in the Eurozone has been a significant drag on our economic recovery.