Mass jobless rate falls below 8 percent for first time in two years


Massachusetts employers added 19,500 jobs in April and the state’s jobless rate dipped below 8 percent for the first time in two years, the State House News Service reported.

The accommodations and food services sector led the way last month, adding 6,400 jobs and helping drop the state unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, down from 8 percent in March and more than a full point lower than the national jobless rate of 9 percent, state officials announced Thursday morning.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate most recently peaked at 8.8 percent in October 2009. It last stood below 8 percent in April 2009, when it was 7.9 percent. The April job gains dropped the number of unemployed people in Massachusetts to 272,300, compared to 3,233,100 employed residents.

The April gains were offset somewhat by news that state officials, after initially reporting the addition of 3,200 jobs in March, instead reported that 1,300 jobs were lost in Massachusetts during that month.

According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, jobs over-the-year in Massachusetts are up by 1.3 percent with the addition of 40,800 jobs over that period.

State officials reported over-the-year jobs gains in leisure and hospitality (12,200); trade, transportation, and utilities (6,900); education and health services (15,900); manufacturing (1,800); information (2,700); professional, scientific, and business services (6,500); financial activities (1,500).

Jobs in construction, mining, and logging are unchanged compared to a year ago.

Also, despite claims of deep cuts in state government spending, the state agency reported job levels in state government are unchanged over the past year, with the federal government shedding 5,200 jobs in Massachusetts during that period, and local government reporting 1,200 fewer jobs over-the-year.