DOVER-SHERBORN, MA – The latest national unemployment and employment figures describe a labor market that is approaching normal, but the country still has a record number of job openings.

The unemployment rate in the Dover-Sherborn region has improved significantly since the start of the pandemic and there has been some improvement from March to April, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Middlesex County’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in April, up from 5.2% in March. This reflected a significant improvement from April 2020, when the unemployment rate stood at 12.9%.

Middlesex County’s unemployment rate in April is lower than Massachusetts’s 5.9% rate, according to the latest local BLS figures.

The United States created 559,000 nonfarm jobs in May and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.8%.

The first weekly unemployment claims at the end of May fell to the lowest level since March 14, 2020, according to the BLS. There were approximately 385,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims, which represents a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week; it also marked the fifth consecutive week of decline.

The country has not fully recovered from the pandemic. Salaried employment is down 5% from pre-pandemic levels. The number of long-term unemployed fell from 431,000 in May to 3.8 million, but this is still up from 2.6 million in February 2020.

The labor force participation rate was 61.6%, which has been almost constant since June 2020 and is around 1.7 percentage points lower than in February 2020.

Job vacancies remain plentiful, with a record 8.1 million job vacancies across the country at the end of March – led by the food and beverage and hospitality sectors, local and government education and arts, entertainment and recreation. The number of layoffs has reached an all-time high of 1.5 million, according to the BLS.


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