Mass. 2011 Job Growth Better Than Estimated

Jacquelyn Gutc | Worcester Business Journal Online | July 12, 2012

Job growth in Massachusetts in 2011 was greater than originally estimated, according to a new MassBenchmarks census out today from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.

Economic journal MassBenchmarks estimates that the number of jobs in the commonwealth was 3,241,800, 30,000 more than the official payroll job count done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with less complete data. It also found that job growth between December 2010 and December 2011 was 39,100, or 1.2 percent. That’s significantly more than the 9,100 jobs and 0.3 percent growth rate reported by the BLS. The BLS originally said the state had created 41,000 jobs in 2011, but heavily revised that figure to 9,100 in March.

The largest differences in employment were in educational services, which MassBenchmarks said added 9,000 more jobs, and construction, which added an estimated 7,000 more jobs in 2011 than officially reported.

The number of jobs declined in four sectors over the year, with the largest downward revision being in manufacturing, which lost 4,500 more jobs. Information, finance and insurance, and government on all levels also fell from 2010 levels but were revised upward in MassBenchmarks.

The report said the sectors that had the fastest rate of job growth in 2011 were construction (4.6 percent) and professional and technical services (4 percent).

“The rebound in construction employment is welcome given how hard hit this sector has been in recent years,” said MassBenchmarks Senior Contributing Editor and Northeastern Professor Alan Clayton-Matthews, who prepared the new estimates. “Construction employment in Massachusetts remains well below its level in December 2007.”

The data incorporated into the MassBenchmarks estimates represent a census of Massachusetts employers who are participants in the state’s unemployment system and are more reliable than previous estimates, according to the institute. The newly released data will be incorporated into the “official estimates” by the BLS in March after the bureau does its own annual revisions.

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