The state's first jobs data of the year show a mixed picture -- the unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent in January even as Massachusetts gained 1,900 jobs and the labor force grew.
The jobless rate rose from December's 5.2 percent -- a figure that was revised upward from the originally reported 5.1 percent because of updated data, the state Department of Workforce Development said today.
The January unemployment rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point above the nation's jobless figure of 4.6 percent.
A household survey used to estimate unemployment found a 6,000-person increase in the state's labor force -- the sum of employed and unemployed workers in the state -- to more than 3.4 million. The unemployment rate rose because the 2,800-person increase in the number of residents without jobs rose by nearly as much as the 3,200-person gain in residents with jobs.
A separate survey of employers found the state added 1,900 jobs in January, led by gains in education, health services, trade, transportation, and utilities. Jobs in financial activities posted the sharpest decline, off 2,100 in January.
The state's January unemployment rate of 5.3 percent is up from 4.8 percent in January 2006. Over that period, the state's labor force has expanded by 40,700. The total has grown by 57,900 since bottoming out at nearly 3.37 million in April 2005.
The state's January jobs total of nearly 3.26 million is up 29,400 from a year earlier, but off 124,100 from a peak of 3.38 million in February 2001. (Associated Press)