While no area of the U.S. completely avoided the economic downturn and unemployment upticks that came in the Great Recession's wake, some rebounded more quickly than others, and this trend appears consistent with current growth as well. New England, particularly in the Boston-Cambridge-Nashua Mass.-N.H. metropolitan area (as categorized by the Department of Labor), had its periods of declining employment but largely remained positive, and trended ahead of the American national average.
The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics placed year-over-year nonfarm employment growth in this metro area between July 2016 and July 2017 at 2.1 percent, ahead of the U.S.'s 1.5 percent average.
Education and health services accounted for most of this expansion, adding 22,900 jobs and representing 4.1 percent year-over-year growth. As this sector employs more individuals in the Boston area than any other, it naturally follows that its growth between 2016 and 2017 outpaced the nationwide 2.3 percent uptick within the same period.
Other New England industries experiencing notable growth over this period included professional and business services, financial services and leisure and hospitality, adding 10,700, 4,800 and 7,400 jobs, respectively. Of those, only professional services failed to exceed the national year-on-year growth average.
Massachusetts added many jobs during summer 2017, most recently seeing 10,800 positions created in August, per data from the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Within the last calendar year, the state added 57,400 jobs. Although the unemployment rate jumped from 3.4 percent to 4.2 percent between August 2016 and 2017, the current number still represents a 0.1 percent drop from July and sits below the national average.
Not all New England states were as successful. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced that the state's overall workforce remained static between July and August 2017, as did the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. However, considerable nationwide growth in the construction sector did benefit the Ocean State, creating 1,100 new jobs.