Massachusetts Unemployment and Job Estimates for August

The state’s August total unemployment rate is down 4.9 percentage points at 11.3 percent following a revision to the July rate at 16.2 percent, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday.  

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 51,600 jobs in August. This follows last month’s revised gain of 70,900 jobs. Over the month, the private sector added 51,200 jobs as gains occurred in Education and Health Services; Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Manufacturing; Other Services; Information; and Construction. The one loss occurred in Financial Activities. Government added jobs over the month.  

From August 2019 to August 2020, BLS estimates Massachusetts lost 403,200 jobs.  Losses occurred in each of the private sectors, with the largest percentage losses in Leisure and Hospitality; Other Services; Construction; and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities.  

 The August unemployment rate was 2.9 percentage points above the national rate of 8.4 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

The labor force decreased by 127,600 from 3,673,400 in July, as 65,400 more residents were employed and 193,100 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. 

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 8.5 percentage points.  

The state’s labor force participation rate – the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks – dropped to 62.6 percent. Compared to August 2019, the labor force participation rate is down by 5.2 percentage points.   

August 2020 Employment Overview 

Education and Health Services gained 17,400 (+2.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services lost 60,700 (-7.5%) jobs.   

Leisure and Hospitality gained 13,100 (+6.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality lost 146,000 (-38.7%) jobs. 

Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 12,300 (+2.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 60,600 (-10.5%) jobs. 

Professional, Scientific and Business Services gained 4,300 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 33,100 (-5.5%) jobs. 

Manufacturing added 2,300 (+1.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing lost 10,800 (-4.4%) jobs. 

 Other Services gained 1,100 (+1.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services are down 34,500 (-24.8%) jobs. 

Information added 500 (+0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information lost 3,800 (-4.0%) jobs. 

Construction gained 300 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has lost 20,200 (-12.4%) jobs. 

Financial Activities lost 100 (0.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities lost 6,100 (-2.7%) jobs. 

Government added 400 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government lost 27,200 (-5.9%) jobs. 

Labor Force Overview 

The August estimates show 3,144,600 Massachusetts residents were employed and 401,200 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,545,800. The unemployment rate at 11.3 percent was down by 4.9 percentage points from the revised July estimate of 16.2 percent. The August labor force decreased by 127,600 from 3,673,400 in July, as 65,400 more residents were employed and 193,100 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, was down 2.3 percentage points over the month at 62.6 percent. The labor force was down 276,400 from the 3,822,200 August 2019 estimate, with 569,200 fewer residents employed and 292,800 more residents unemployed. 

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different monthly trends. The Bureau of Labor Statistics implemented the Current Population Survey level-shift outliers into the estimation models to incorporate the state claims and CES inputs starting with the revised March estimates. These level shifts preserved movements in published estimates that the models otherwise would have discounted as sampling error. Seasonal factors, which were suspended beginning with the March estimates, have been resumed and were applied starting with the June estimates. 


The labor force is the sum of the numbers of employed residents and those unemployed, that is residents not working but actively seeking work in the last four weeks. Estimates may not add up to the total labor force due to rounding. 

For further information on seasonal adjustment methodology, please refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website 

Local area unemployment statistics for August 2020 will be released on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. The preliminary September 2020 and revised August 2020 unemployment rate, labor force and job estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Friday, October 16, 2020. See the 2020 Media Advisory annual schedule for a complete list of release dates. 

Detailed labor market information is available at

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