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Hiring remains slow in Massachusetts; state added only 9,200 jobs in May

Outdoor diners on Newbury Street in May. Massachusetts employers added 9,200 jobs last month, a smaller gain than in April.
Outdoor diners on Newbury Street in May. Massachusetts employers added 9,200 jobs last month, a smaller gain than in April.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Massachusetts employers added 9,200 jobs in May, state labor officials said Friday, a smaller gain compared to the month prior and a sign that businesses are still struggling to find workers as the state reopens.

The speed of job recovery in Massachusetts, which lifted nearly all coronavirus restrictions on May 29, trails national figures. US employers added 559,000 jobs in May, which was an increase from the previous month, although a modest one.

The state’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent last month compared to a revised rate of 6.4 percent in April. Although the jobless rate is trending downward, that number is higher than the national average, which fell to 5.8 percent last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Employers have been scrambling to hire workers in recent weeks to keep up with the reopening and accommodate pent-up demand from consumers. In Massachusetts, job growth last month was concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels, restaurants, and bars. Those industries added 3,200 jobs in May, up 1.2 percent from April.

Overall the pace of hiring in Massachusetts has been waning since January, when employers added 37,900 jobs.

Despite indications that the economy is rebounding, the Labor Department reported Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits ticked upward last week, following several weeks of declines.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.