Business Brief: Mass unemployment rate climbs

Business Brief: Mass unemployment rate climbs

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The Massachusetts economy shed 4,800 jobs in August, driving the unemployment up to 6.3 percent from 6.1 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released by the Patrick administration on Thursday, Sept. 20. The increase in the unemployment rate is the second jump in two months, and follows a revised jobs report for July showing a more modest 300 job gain after a previously reported uptick of 1,600 jobs.

The August job losses end a streak of eight consecutive months of job gains, leaving an estimated 218,800 residents unemployed. The economy has created 31,400 jobs in 2012 and private sector jobs are up 29,900, according to the report, with the largest gains for the year coming in the professional, scientific, and business services field and in trade, transportation and utilities, the State House News service reported.

Professional, scientific and business services, however, lost 1,900 jobs in August, the first decline in the sector since June 2011. Trade, transportation, utilities also shed 1,400 jobs, attributed in the report to a decline in the retail market. The largest job gains were posted in government with 3,400 jobs being added in August in the public sector, including 2,500 jobs in state government and 1,300 jobs at the federal level. Local government lost 400 jobs.

Financial activities also showed an increase of 300 jobs for the month, and mining and logging added 100 jobs. While manufacturing jobs showed no change in employment from July, construction lost 1,400 jobs and education and health services lost 2,600 jobs last month. Leisure and hospitality employment also dipped by 800 jobs, information lost 400 jobs and “other services” lost 100.