Mass. jobless rate holds steady in January

Mass. unemployment rate unchanged in January, job gains revised upward for 2011-2012

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- The Massachusetts unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent in January while the state added more than 16,000 new jobs during the month, the state office of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday.

Officials also released new federal data that showed Massachusetts gained more jobs during 2011 and 2012 than previously estimated.

The state's jobless rate of 6.7 percent remained more than one percentage point behind the national rate, which stood at 7.9 percent in January, up slightly from 7.8 percent the previous month.

The revised job growth estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the state gained a combined 92,800 jobs during 2011 and 2012, an increase of 32,100 jobs from earlier estimates. While the previous estimates were assembled from sample surveys, the revisions are based on actual data collected from Massachusetts employers, officials said.

The numbers from last year's final quarter are still based on projections, so more revisions are possible.

The revisions "show a steady job recovery and more continuous job growth compared to previously published estimates for 2011 and 2012," said Joanne Goldstein, state Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development.

She added that the state still had more work to do to ensure that everyone who wanted a job could find one and that companies looking to hire would find qualified applicants.

The revised numbers show that the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was between 6.6 percent and 6.8 percent throughout 2012, with little month-to-month fluctuation.

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