Boston, MA – January 19, 2012 –The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported today that the total unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, down 0.2 of a percentage point from the November rate of 7.0 percent, and well below the national rate of 8.5 percent.  It is the lowest monthly rate since December of 2008.  The preliminary December estimates show a decrease of 6,200 jobs in Massachusetts, for a total of 3,234,500 jobs.

Four of the ten private sectors added jobs in December with gains in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Manufacturing; Information; and Financial Activities.  The December job loss follows a revised 300 job gain in November originally reported as 5,000.

Over-the-year (December 2010 to December 2011), 40,700 jobs have been added in the Bay State, a growth rate of 1.3 percent, with 45,600 private sector jobs added for a growth rate of 1.7 percent.  Over-the-year, the national rate of job growth is 1.3 percent with private sector job growth up 1.8 percent.

Employment Overview

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 2,300 (+0.4%) jobs over-the-month with gains in Transportation and Retail Trade.  Over-the-year, jobs in Trade, Transportation and Utilities are up 7,800 (+1.4%) with Retail Trade adding 5,900 (+1.7%) jobs, Wholesale Trade gaining 1,400 (+1.1%) jobs and Transportation adding 500 jobs (+0.6%).

Manufacturing gained 1,100 (+0.4%) jobs over-the-month with gains in both Durable Goods and Non-Durable Goods.  From December 2010 to December 2011, Manufacturing jobs are up 4,600 (+1.8%).

Over-the-month, Information jobs were up 100 (+0.1%), and over-the-year the sector has added 2,100 (+2.5%) jobs.

Financial Activities gained 100 (0.0%) jobs over-the-month due to the gain in Finance and Insurance.  Over-the-year, jobs are up 1,600 (+0.8%) with a 1,000 (+2.5%) job gain in Real Estate, Rental and Leasing and a 600 (+0.4%) job gain in Finance and Insurance.

Mining and Logging employment remained unchanged both over-the-month and over-the-year.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 5,000 (-1.0%) jobs over-the-month, the sector’s second monthly loss in 2011.  Within the sector, Management of Companies and Enterprises added jobs.  Over-the-year, the sector has added 15,900 (+3.5%) jobs, due to growth in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.

Education and Health Services was down 2,400 (-0.4%) jobs over-the-month as both components recorded a loss.  Educational Services lost 2,200 (-1.4%) jobs and Health Care and Social Assistance lost 200 (0.0%) jobs. Over-the-year this sector has added 2,400 (+0.4%) jobs.

Leisure and Hospitality lost 1,200 (-0.4%) jobs over-the-month due to the loss in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation.  Over-the-year, the sector has added 5,100 (+1.7%) jobs as the Accommodation and Food Services component added 8,500 (+3.3%) jobs.

Other Services lost 1,000 (-0.8%) jobs over-the-month.  Over-the-year, jobs are up 3,700 (+3.2%).

Over-the-month, Construction lost 100 (-0.1%) jobs.  Over-the-year, this sector has added 2,400 (+2.3%) jobs with gains in Specialty Trade Contractors and Construction of Buildings.

Over-the-month, Government lost 100 (0.0%) jobs.  Federal Government gained 600 (+1.3%) jobs while Local Government lost 200 (-0.1%) jobs and State Government lost 500 jobs (-0.4%).  Over-the-year, Government jobs were down 4,900 (-1.1%).

Labor Force Overview

The December estimates show 3,257,300 Massachusetts residents were employed and 239,300 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,496,600.  The labor force increased by 1,300 from 3,495,300 in November, as 6,100 more residents were employed and 4,800 fewer residents were unemployed over-the-month.  Since the rate peaked at 8.8% in October 2009, there are 88,900 more residents employed and 65,100 fewer residents unemployed as the labor force increased by 23,800. Totals for December may not add exactly due to rounding.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households, while the job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers.  As a result, the two statistics for December exhibit different trends.

Beginning with the March 2011 estimates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has assumed responsibility for the production of the CES State and sub-state jobs estimates.  BLS has also implemented methodological changes which may increase the month to month variability of the estimates. (See Procedures Changes for producing (CES) estimates.)

Local area unemployment statistics for December 2011 will be released on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. The January 2012 unemployment rate and labor force data for Massachusetts will be released on Thursday, March 08, 2012. (See the Revised Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.)

Detailed labor market information is available at

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