- Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Media Contact for Massachusetts Unemployment and Job Estimates for March
Charles Pearce, Director of Communications, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Boston — The state’s March total unemployment rate is up one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.9 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 18,000 jobs in March. The monthly change in the job estimates was impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Over the month, the private sector lost 18,300 jobs as losses occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Education and Health Services; Other Services; and Manufacturing. Gains occurred in Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Financial Activities; and Construction while the jobs level in Information remained unchanged. Government added jobs over the month.
From March 2019 to March 2020, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 7,900 jobs.
The March unemployment rate was 1.5 percentage points lower than the national rate of 4.4 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The labor force decreased by 94,200 from 3,834,800 in February, as 96,300 fewer residents were employed and 2,000 more residents were unemployed over the month.
Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point.
The state’s labor force participation rate – the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks – dropped to 66.2 percent. Compared to March 2019, the labor force participation rate is down 1.4 percentage points.
The largest private sector percentage job gains over the year were in Information; Financial Activities; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; and Construction.
March 2020 Employment Overview
Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 3,300 (+0.5%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services gained 7,400 (+1.2%) jobs.
Financial Activities added 800 (+0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities gained 2,900 (+1.3%) jobs.
Construction added 500 (+0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has gained 1,500 (+0.9%) jobs.
Information jobs level remained unchanged over the month. Over the year, Information added 2,600 (+2.8%) jobs.
Leisure and Hospitality lost 14,200 (-3.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality lost 9,800 (-2.6%) jobs.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 3,300 (-0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 2,300 (-0.4%) jobs.
Education and Health Services lost 2,900 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 5,300 (+0.7%) jobs.
Other Services lost 1,400 (-1.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services are down -1,000 (-0.7%) jobs.
Manufacturing lost 1,000 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing lost 200 (-0.1%) jobs.
Government added 300 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government gained 1,500 (+0.3%) jobs.
Labor Force Overview
The March estimates show 3,632,000 Massachusetts residents were employed and 108,600 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,740,600. The unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.9 percent. The March labor force decreased by 94,200 from 3,834,800 in February, as 96,300 fewer residents were employed and 2,000 more residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, was down at 66.2 percent. The labor force was down 62,000 from the 3,802,600 March 2019 estimate, with 55,200 fewer residents employed and 6,800 fewer residents unemployed.
The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different monthly trends. It is also important to note that the March survey reference period (March 8th through March 14th) occurred prior to some of the coronavirus-related business and school closures.
The labor force is the sum of the numbers of employed residents and those unemployed, that is residents not working but actively seeking work in the last four weeks. Estimates may not add up to the total labor force due to rounding.
Local area unemployment statistics for March 2020 will be released on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The preliminary April 2020 and revised March 2020 unemployment rate, labor force and job estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Friday, May 22, 2020. See the 2020 Media Advisory annual schedule for a complete list of release dates.
Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi.