The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in June from 9.2 percent in May, remaining below the 9.5 percent national rate, the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported yesterday.
Unemployment-rate declines at both state and national levels were due primarily to decreases in the labor force rather than to job creation.
In Massachusetts, the private sector added 3,400 jobs while government lost 2,900 jobs. The largest private-sector job gains in June were in leisure and hospitality; construction; and trade, transportation and utilities. The government decline reflects the winding down of temporary employment for the federal Census.
The job growth follows on a revised 15,200 jobs gain in May.
The June report is predominantly favorable, but definitely mixed. “There’s no question things are improving, but very slowly and modestly,” economist Elliot Winer, a member of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors, told the Boston Globe.
Strong May numbers have held up so far, and the private-sector job creation, though limited, is a positive sign. On the downside, job growth has slowed, and the declining labor force suggests that some jobseekers are discouraged.
Massachusetts continues to do a bit better than the nation, which is in sharp contrast to its performance in the two prior recoveries. It is also doing better compared to its own past performance. In the six months since employment bottomed out, the state has regained about 28 percent of the jobs lost in the downturn; this took more than two years last time around.