Boston Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate Drops in August

According to the most recent monthly jobs report, the non-seasonally adjusted Boston unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in August, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, 3,200 Boston jobs were added in the same month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Massachusetts as a whole maintained an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in August, according to the most recent monthly jobs report, and added 7,200 jobs over the month. This brings the state’s annual total of new positions created to 56,500 and caps off 12 consecutive months of economic job growth.

Let’s see what these numbers mean for Boston jobs and employers.

Corey Adams, regional president with Robert Half, says, “We are seeing demand for talent in a number of industries, including life sciences, healthcare, technology, nonprofit and investment management.”

But Adams reminds businesses that the lower Boston unemployment rate can present challenges when it comes to hiring for these positions. “Companies are receiving a lot of applications, but the majority of candidates aren’t qualified,” he reports. “Also, employers aren’t moving fast enough in the decision-making process, which is causing them to lose candidates to other opportunities. In fact, the speed at which companies must move to hire has increased significantly for both temporary and full-time positions.” 

Adams points to the continued need for competitive pay to win the candidates employers want most. “The positions top applicants are accepting offer solid compensation packages that meet or exceed the regional average,” he says. “To avoid losing top talent to higher paying competitors, employers should benchmark the starting salaries they’re offering against the national averages in the most recent Robert Half Salary Guides. They can also use our Salary Calculators to evaluate compensation levels specific to the Boston jobs market and their industry.”

Adams advises businesses to stay proactive not only on the recruiting front but in keeping the people they have: “Organizations should ramp up their focus on employee retention and consider hiring from within so their current team members aren’t tempted to leave due to a lack of advancement opportunities.”

How is the current Boston unemployment rate affecting your organization’s hiring and retention efforts? Sound off about your experiences in the comments section.