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Massachusetts added more than 58,000 jobs in May

Modest gains followed a devastating loss in April as the unemployment rate remained above 16 percent.

The state's unemployment rate was 16.3 percent in May.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Massachusetts has started to claw back some of the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers in the state added 58,600 jobs in May, led by gains in construction, hospitality and leisure, and health and education, according to Federal data released Friday. That followed a revised loss of 646,700 jobs in April as the full impact of the shutdown of nonessential businesses took hold.

The state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 16.3 percent last month from a revised 16.2 percent in April.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, while the job estimates are derived from a separate monthly survey of employers. That’s why the jobless rate can increase even though employers were hiring during the month.


The national results of both surveys are released two weeks before the state data, which are considered more volatile because of the smaller sample sizes.

The government also made substantial revisions to the data for Massachusetts that showed losses in April were greater than originally reported. The unemployment rate for that month was revised up from 15.1 percent, while job losses were revised up from 623,000.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont are near the bottom of all states and the District of Columbia ranked by improvements in the job market, according to the website Wallet Hub. Only Nevada and Hawaii, two states heavily dependent on tourism, fared worse.

Nebraska, the District of Columbia, and Arizona were at the top of the ranking, which factored in the change in each state’s unemployment rate during May 2020 compared with May 2019 and January 2020, as well as jobless claims and each state’s unemployment rate.

Larry Edelman can be reached at Follow him @GlobeNewsEd.