Mass. Unemployment Falls to 5.6 Percent for May

Pedestrians walked past a "Now Hiring" sign in the window of a GNC shop in Boston. –BRIAN SNYDER/ REUTERS

The state’s unemployment rate plummeted from 6.0 percent to 5.6 percent as it added 9,100 jobs in May, according to preliminary estimates from the Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development office.

April’s numbers, which showed the state to have lost 1,600 jobs, were revised slightly downward. The state now says a net 2,000 jobs were lost that month.

Massachusetts has now regained jobs lost in the recession, mirroring the nation at large, which reached the same milestone in May. However, those numbers do not account for changes in overall population size, the size of the labor force, or underemployed workers.

Leisure and hospitality (4,200 jobs), education and health services (3,300), and financial activities (1,200) saw the biggest gains. Two sectors—trade/transportation/utility services and the catch-all other services field—saw losses.

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While the amount of jobs added is impressive, a fall-off in the labor force of about 3,800 also had an effect on the 0.4 percent unemployment drop. Even with the job losses in April, the unemployment rate had also fallen that month due to losses in the labor market. However, the labor force has grown by about 15,200 since May of last year, when the unemployment rate stood at 7.0 percent.