State job gains in 2015 were strongest in 15 years
BOSTON — Capped off by 7,100 jobs added in December, Massachusetts employers in 2015 produced a total of 73,800 new jobs last year, complementing the 60,700 jobs they generated in 2014.
The state's unemployment rate held at 4.7 percent in December, after inching up from October's 4.6 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The state's jobless rate in December 2014 was 5.3 percent.
"The Commonwealth's strong job gains in 2015 reflect the strength and diversity of our economy," Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker said in a statement. "The preliminary over the year job gain estimates indicate the strongest over the year job gains since 2000."
Throughout the year, the largest job gains in the private sector were in construction; professional, scientific and business services; education and health services; other services; and leisure and hospitality, state labor officials said.
The education and health services field increased jobs by 3 percent over the year, with 22,400 new jobs. The sector gained 4,200 jobs in December.
The professional, scientific and business services sector added 1,700 jobs in December and 23,000 over the year, for a gain of 4.4 percent.
Though most sectors experienced job gains last year, jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 1 percent, or a total of 5,900 jobs. Nearly half of that loss came in December.
The improved jobs picture is helping to boost state tax collections, although spending demands are outpacing revenue growth and Gov. Charlie Baker and the state Legislature are predicting a difficult budget year. Rising health care, pension, and MBTA costs, combined with a desire to shore up the state's stabilization fund and opposition to new or higher taxes from Baker and Speaker Robert DeLeo, are leaving a relatively small pot of new money for other priorities.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.