- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts unemployment rate, which soared during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, fell nearly 5 percentage points in August to 11.3%, according to numbers released Friday by state and federal labor officials.

Massachusetts no longer has the highest unemployment rate in the country, a distinction that now goes to Nevada.

The August rate of 4.9% is significantly lower than the revised 16.2% jobless rate in Massachusetts in July, according to the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

The nationwide unemployment rate fell from 10.2% to 8.4% in August.

Massachusetts added more than 51,000 jobs last month after adding nearly 71,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the state continues to recover from the economic shutdown prompted by the pandemic.



Gains occurred in education and health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation, and utilities; professional, scientific, and business services; manufacturing; information; and construction.

The one loss occurred in financial activities.

Government jobs grew during the month.

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RED SOX LAYOFFS

The Red Sox have laid off 10% of their full-time employees as a result of the pandemic.

The Boston Globe reported Friday that about 40 workers on the business side were let go. Earlier this month, the team told nine baseball operations employees in player development, amateur scouting and pro scouting that their contracts would not be renewed.

Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy told the Globe that the staff reductions were due to what he called “the profound impact of this ongoing pandemic.”

He said the team has set up assistance measures including severance pay, health care, and outplacement support to help those laid off find new jobs.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

Massachusetts reported eight newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 430 newly confirmed cases Friday, pushing the state’s confirmed death toll to 9,059 and its confirmed caseload to more than 124,500.

The seven-day weighted average of positive tests was less than 1%. The true number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were nearly 340 people reported hospitalized Friday because of COVID-19, and more than 60 in intensive care units.

The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at care homes rose to 5,946 or about 64% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.

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