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Massachusetts Unemployment Rate For June Is Highest In Country At 17.4%

BOSTON (CBS) -- The unemployment rate rose last month in Massachusetts, even as the state began its slow reopening process amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said the June total unemployment rate is at 17.4%, up from 16.6% in May and 6.3 percentage points higher than the national rate of 11.1%.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says the Bay State has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

"Massachusetts had the highest unemployment rate in June, 17.4 percent, followed by New Jersey, 16.6 percent, and New York, 15.7 percent," a press release from the Bureau states. "The rates in these three states set new series highs."

The state did add 83,700 jobs in June, nearly 30,000 more than the previous month. The leisure and hospitality industry saw gains, as did construction, education and health services, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities. There were losses in the government and financial activities and information industries.

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The job market is still in a deep hole as a result of the pandemic. It's estimated that Massachusetts has lost 529,800 jobs since June 2019.

However, many businesses are getting creative, said LinkedIn's Principal Economist Guy Berger. "I think you're going to find that, gradually, more and more sectors are going to be able to get creative ways to operate in a socially distant world as long as is necessary."

In recent weeks, Massachusetts has reported far fewer new coronavirus cases than states that reopened more quickly.

Learn more about applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.

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