Updated January 30 at 6:30pm

Mass. adds jobs, sees unemployment rate drop to 6.5%

BOSTON – The Mass. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary March 2012 estimates show that Massachusetts added 8,700 jobs over the month, for a total of 3.24 million jobs in the state. More

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RHODE ISLAND & MASSACHUSETTS NEWS BRIEFS

Mass. adds jobs, sees unemployment rate drop to 6.5%

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BOSTON – The Mass. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary March 2012 estimates show that Massachusetts added 8,700 jobs over the month, for a total of 3.24 million jobs in the state.

The March job gain follows a revised 7,200-job gain in February. The total unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent, 0.4 percentage points below the February rate of 6.9 percent and below the national rate of 8.2 percent.

According to a news release, the private sector added 8,900 jobs in March. Five of the 10 private sectors added jobs. The largest gains occurred in professional, scientific and business services; trade, transportation and utilities; and education and health services.

According to the bureau, Massachusetts has added 29,800 jobs since the beginning of 2012. The private sector added 31,200 jobs, with losses coming in the government sector. Compared with March 2011, Massachusetts added 30,300 jobs; the private sector added 34,600 jobs.

Compared with February, 11,900 fewer residents were unemployed and 7,400 more residents were employed. The number of employed residents is the highest since January 2009. Since the unemployment rate peaked at 8.7 percent in October 2009, there are 67,100 more residents employed and 74,900 fewer residents unemployed. •

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