Massachusetts unemployment rate drops to lowest since pandemic began – Sentinel and Enterprise

The state’s unemployment rate fell last month from 0.4% to 4.3%, the lowest rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials report.

Massachusetts also gained 186,400 jobs.

“The even better news is that jobs are coming back to the hardest hit areas of the state,” said Jay Zagorsky, an economist at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. “Over the past year, the leisure and hospitality industry has gained more than a quarter of a million – 272,500 – jobs, as people eat out again, stay in hotels and go to shows.

The unemployment rate of 4.3% in March was 0.7% higher than the national rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bureau’s preliminary jobs estimate shows Massachusetts gained 21,000 jobs in March, following last month’s revised gain of 22,300.

The March labor force increased by 2,700 from 3,772,500 in February, with 18,000 more residents employed and 15,300 fewer residents unemployed, according to the state.

The activity rate – the share of the working-age population that is employed and unemployed – increased by 0.1 percentage point to 66.0%. The labor force grew by 39,900 from the March 2021 estimate of 3,735,400, as 118,000 more residents were employed and 78,100 fewer residents were unemployed.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. Employment estimates are taken from a monthly survey of employers. Therefore, the two statistics may show different monthly trends.

The largest job gains during the month in the private sector were in the professional, scientific, business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.

From March 2021 to March 2022, the BLS estimates that Massachusetts gained 186,400 jobs. The strongest year-over-year gains were in leisure and hospitality; professional, scientific and business services; and the education and health services sectors. Financial activities were the only sector to record job losses.

“What’s really striking is leisure and hospitality, which is 25% higher than a year ago,” said Michael Klein, professor of international economics at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. . “It’s emblematic of how the country is recovering from COVID. This shows that the economy is coming out of the pandemic.

Leisure and hospitality gained 3,900 jobs – up 1.2% – over the month. During the year, 69,400 jobs were added, an increase of 25.5%.

The labor force grew by around 2,700 from 3,772,500 in February, as 18,000 more residents were employed and 15,300 fewer residents were unemployed in March.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 2.1 percentage points.