The Massachusetts unemployment rate slipped below the nation’s for the first time since November as employers added nearly 4,000 jobs last month, the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday.
Unemployment in February fell to 6.5 percent from 6.8 percent in January, the state reported. Nationally, the rate rose slightly last month, to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent in January.
Last month’s job gains followed revised losses of 3,900 jobs in January. Professional, scientific, and business services, which includes a variety of technical, technology, and research firms, led last month’s job gains, adding 6,200 jobs. Trade, transportation, and utilities, which includes retailers, gained 3,200 jobs, and manufacturing added 400 jobs.
The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, experienced the steepest losses in February, shedding 3,600 jobs. Financial services lost 1,600 jobs, and education and health services lost 900.
Alan Clayton-Matthews, a Northeastern University economics professor, noted that temporary employment, which is included in the professional and business-services sector, has been steadily increasing, an indication employers are hiring and that the economy is expanding more broadly than in the tech sector alone.