Mass. Unemployment Rate Dips Below 8 Percent

BOSTON (State House News Service) — The unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell to 7.8 percent in January, and revisions to 2020 estimates have pinpointed the highest spike of pandemic-era joblessness to last April, labor officials announced Friday.

The January rate dropped 0.6 percentage points from the revised December rate of 8.4 percent, and it stands 1.5 percentage points higher than the U.S. joblessness rate, the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said.

Despite continued improvement from double-digit figures in the early months of the COVID-19 crisis, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts remains more than two and a half times higher than it did before the virus upended public life.

Businesses reported adding 35,500 jobs in January, according to federal data based on a survey of employers. From May to January, the state added slightly more than half of the roughly 690,000 positions that evaporated last March and April.

Friday's release also revised the monthly data estimates for 2020. Labor officials now say the unemployment rate peaked in Massachusetts at 16.4 percent in April, a change from the previously reported high of 17.7 percent in June.

The revised unemployment rates steadily declined from April to 15.3 percent in May, 14.8 percent in June, 9.8 percent in July, 9.3 percent in August, 8.9 percent in September, 8.5 percent in October, 8.4 percent in November and 8.4 percent in December.

On Thursday, the House unanimously approved legislation that includes an unemployment insurance rate schedule freeze and borrowing authorization to help manage costs of the unprecedented surge in joblessness, and unemployment claims, during the pandemic.

By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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