BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts employers added 5,100 jobs in April as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent, 0.2 percentage points below the revised March rate of 6.7 percent, labor officials announced Friday.
Total employment in Massachusetts increased to about 3.43 million in April, according to the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pace of gains dropped from the revised increase of 14,800 positions in March. Bay State employers have now added jobs for four months in a row and 11 out of the last 12 months. In that span, they have clawed back about 60 percent of the nearly 658,000 jobs lost in April 2020, when the pandemic and the forced closures it brought upended public life.
Some employers are publicly warning of labor shortages as they struggle to fill open positions. Republican governors in other states have ended federal pandemic unemployment benefits early, arguing the additional $300 payments are discouraging a return to the workforce, though Gov. Charlie Baker has resisted a similar approach while noting that Massachusetts is a “very high-cost state.”
Professional, scientific and business services employers gained 4,500 jobs last month, the most among the 10 industry groups labor officials tracked. Leisure and hospitality, one of the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions and changed consumer behavior, added 2,300 more jobs in April and has grown employment more than 75 percent over the past year, recovering many but not all of its early losses.
Government, information and manufacturing sectors also added jobs in April, while other services, construction, financial activities, education and health services, and trade, transportation and utilities all observed net losses, officials said.