Mass. Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.1 in October

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts' unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in September to 8.1 percent in October, well below the national average of 9.6 percent, the Patrick administration announced Thursday.

The Massachusetts figure was its lowest since April 2009 and, when combined with September's result, marked the steepest two-month drop since 1976.

"Job creation has been priority number one since day one and that strategy is propelling Massachusetts out of this recession faster and stronger than other states," Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. "I will not rest until everyone who is looking for a job can find one."

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said preliminary job estimates for October show 3.19 million jobs in Massachusetts, an increase of 10,000, with most of the gains in education, health services and leisure-and-hospitality sectors.

The report does not factor in more than 1,000 layoffs announced by Massachusetts employers since Election Day on Nov. 2.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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