Unemployment dips only slightly in MA, but that's a first for 2017

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down almost 16 percent - from $1.3 million a year ago to $1.1 million for August 2017.

The state's jobless rate, at a pre-recession level, remained lower than the nation's, which was 4.4 percent in August, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Vermont's unemployment rate is down in August, compared to July.

Maine's unemployment rate was less than the USA rate of 4.4 percent, which was also up slightly from July but down from previous year. The national rate has dropped one-half of a percentage point in the same span, the Department of Labor & Industry report said. Boise (up 0.8 percent), Coeur d'Alene and Pocatello (0.5 percent) MSAs together saw nonfarm job increases of 3,000.

Economist Emilie Doerksen said nonfarm employment grew by 800 jobs last month and the service-providing sector added almost 2,000 jobs. The state's portfolio of private-sector jobs has fallen by 6,300 since August 2016. Trade, transportation and utilities added the most jobs in August at 1,400, while jobs in other services grew the fastest at 2.9 percent.

Year over year, farms added 700 jobs while nonfarm industries added 1,300 jobs. Gains in financial activities and educational and health services were offset by losses in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

  • Rogelio Becker