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Massachusetts jobless rate drifts back up to 4.8 percent

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Colin A. Young

The Massachusetts unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent in January, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Monday, nearly a full percentage point higher than the figure announced for December.

January’s jobless rate was 0.8 percentage points higher than the national rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to EOLWD, and stood more than two percentage points lower than the January 2021 state rate of 7.1 percent.

State officials said employers added 10,600 jobs in January. The Massachusetts labor force — which includes people who are employed and people who have actively sought work in the last four weeks — increased in January by an estimated 15,700 workers with about 9,400 more residents employed and about 6,200 more residents unemployed over the month.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered massive job losses in April 2020, Massachusetts has added back 558,000 jobs, officials said. Labor officials said in January that the state’s unemployment rate had fallen to 3.9 percent in December and Gov. Charlie Baker touted in his State of the Commonwealth address that it was “the first time since March of 2020” that the state’s unemployment rate was below 4 percent as he made a push for tax relief. But on Monday, the executive office said “[a]nnual year-end revisions and updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau” showed that the rate of unemployment was actually higher than reported for most of 2020 and for four months of 2021.

The adjusted unemployment rate for December is 4.6 percent and EOLWD said Monday that Massachusetts employers added 14,500 jobs that month, down more than 25 percent from the 20,100 jobs added that EOLWD initially announced for the month. Federal officials announced earlier this month that U.S. employers added 678,000 jobs in February and the national unemployment rate ticked down to 3.8 percent.

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