The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) announced Thursday that Massachusetts unemployment fell from 4.9% in February to 4.8% in March. This is the lowest unemployment figure since February of 2008. The “Great Recession” drove Massachusetts’ unemployment to a high of 5.9% in March 2014.
The labor force participation rate, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is “the percentage of the population [16 years and older] that is either employed or unemployed (that is, either working or actively seeking work).” This number increased 0.3% to 66.2% in February, its highest point since June of 2010 and up a full percentage point from March 2014.
The Massachusetts’ economy added 60,200 jobs; 49,400 of which were private sector since March 2014. The EOLWD reports that the private sector added 10,700 jobs in March. The most significant gains were 1,400 jobs in manufacturing, 4,900 in hospitality and leisure, and 5,500 in education and health providing services.
The National Association of Business Economics (NABE) projects continued economic growth for the duration of 2015 and into 2016. The outlook expects the United States’ GDP to grow by 3.1% through 2015 and 2.9% in 2016. Predicted increases are derived from data linked to government spending, housing investment, and consumer spending. Recent trends in labor market strengthening are expected to continue, adding more jobs to the Massachusetts’ economy.