HCN News & Notes

Massachusetts Unemployment Down Slightly in January

BOSTON — The state’s January total unemployment rate was 3.0%, down 0.2% from the revised December estimate of 3.2%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Massachusetts unemployment rate was 0.7% lower than the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 0.5%.

The labor force grew by an estimated 400 from the revised estimate of 3,749,900 in December, with 8,000 more residents employed and 7,600 fewer residents unemployed over the month. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — remained at 64.9% over the month. Compared to January 2023, the labor-force participation rate was down 0.1%.

Annual year-end revisions and updated population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau resulted in changes to the labor-force estimates from 2019 to 2023, with the most notable revisions in 2023. The revisions in 2023 resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate from previously published estimates, ranging from 0.1% to 0.7% during the months of April to November, with the largest revision of 0.7% occurring from June to September. Compared to previously published estimates in 2023, the annual revisions showed an increase in the labor-force estimates for all months, ranging from 0.2% to 1%, with the highest revision occurring in September.

The BLS preliminary job estimates indicate that Massachusetts gained 18,300 jobs in January. This follows December’s revised gain of 4,600 jobs. The largest over-the-month private-sector job gains were in professional, scientific, and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. Employment now stands at 3,739,400. Massachusetts gained 675,900 jobs since the employment low in April 2020.

From January 2023 to January 2024, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 25,800 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government.