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Massachusetts gains jobs in April, unemployment rate falls to 4.7 percent

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BOSTON — Massachusetts gained jobs for an eighth consecutive month in April while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.7 percent, the state office of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday.

The labor participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who were working or seeking work — climbed to a nearly five-year high of 66.3 percent in April, officials added.

Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the state picked up 10,100 jobs last month. The bureau also issued an upward revision of jobs growth in March, from the earlier estimate of 10,500 to 12,100 jobs.

The overall unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was a drop of one-tenth of a percentage point from March's 4.8 percent rate. The national unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April.

The Massachusetts rate has dropped for seven consecutive months and is more than full point lower than in April 2014, when it stood at 5.8 percent. There were 37,700 fewer unemployed residents than 12 months ago, officials said.

"Many more residents are employed, and labor participation has increased again," Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker said in a statement.

Leading the way in jobs monthly growth among sectors was education and health services, which picked up 4,500 jobs in April, and the professional, scientific and business services sector, which gained 3,700 jobs.

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