BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts employers added 9,200 jobs in May and the statewide unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 6.1 percent, labor officials announced Friday.
The pace of job gains slowed from the revised 10,200 positions businesses added in April, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures cited by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. That continues a deceleration, from from 37,900 jobs added in January to 19,700 in February, 14,800 in March, 10,200 in April and now 9,200 in May. The unemployment rate dropped from a revised April 2021 rate of 6.4 percent to 6.1 percent in May. The jobless rate stood at 16.4 percent in April 2020, but remains more than twice as high as the 2.7 percent unemployment rate from right before COVID-19 upended public life.
Total employment, estimated based on a survey of employers, has increased in Massachusetts for five months straight and 12 of the past 13 months. The Bay State lost 691,000 jobs in March 2020 and April 2020, and since then has brought back about 406,600 jobs, less than 60 percent of the early losses. Many business groups and smaller employers have warned lately that they are struggling to attract workers and fill open positions while the state pushes toward a post-pandemic economic recovery, citing factors ranging from the continued availability of supplemental unemployment benefits to a lack of available housing.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday outlined plans to immediately spend $2.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help further the economic recovery. His proposal drew a tepid initial response from legislators, who emphasized the importance of putting the ARPA money in a special fund while hearing more public feedback.