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Mass. jobs recovery remained slow in June, even as economy reopened

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 7/16/2021 Anissa Gardizy
a man holding a sign: A small bump in hiring, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, suggests that employers were still struggling to find workers. © Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff A small bump in hiring, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, suggests that employers were still struggling to find workers.

Hiring in Massachusetts remained slow in June, despite the lifting of nearly all COVID-19 restrictions, with employers adding 9,400 jobs, up by just 200 from the amount added in May.

The small bump in hiring, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, suggests that local employers were still struggling to find workers last month, even as restaurants and stores were allowed to operate at full capacity. The pace of hiring in Massachusetts has been slow since January, when employers added 37,900 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sector accounted for about one-third of the gains in Massachusetts last month, adding 3,100 jobs in a 1.1 percent increase from May. Most other sectors, including education, health services, and manufacturing, saw a modest increase month over month.

About half the states in the US saw employment numbers increase in June, while the others saw employment mostly unchanged.


Video: A look at June job’s report and where America’s economic recovery stands (CBS News)

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The state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that 3.5 million residents were employed and 180,500 were unemployed in June. The labor force participation rate, or share of the working-age population employed and seeking employment, was up 0.1 percentage point from May’s revised number at 65.7 percent.

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in June, which is below the national average of 5.9 percent. While the state saw the largest decrease in the US year over year, dropping nearly 10 percentage points, it also had the highest unemployment rate in the country last summer.

As businesses hire back workers, fewer Americans are seeking unemployment aid. The Labor Department on Thursday reported that US weekly unemployment claims continued to trend downward, dropping slightly to 360,000, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. The number of new weekly claims also fell in Massachusetts.

While the economy slowly adds back jobs lost during the pandemic, consumer demand is picking up, too. The US Commerce Department said Friday that retail spending was up 0.6 percent in June from the month prior as Americans spent more money on clothing, electronics, and dining out.

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