The unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell to 7.8 percent in January, according to figures released today by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The January rate dropped 0.6 percent from the revised December rate of 8.4 percent, and the state rate is just 1.5 percent higher than the U.S. joblessness rate. Despite the continued improvement from double-digit figures in the early months of the pandemic, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts remains more than two and a half times higher than it did before the virus.

Businesses reported adding 35,500 jobs in January, according to federal data based on a survey of employers. From May to January, the state added slightly more than half of the roughly 690,000 positions that were lost in March and April last year.

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Reports released today also show revised unemployment rates steadily declined from April to 15.3 percent in May, 14.8 percent in June, 9.8 percent in July, 9.3 percent in August, 8.9 percent in September, 8.5 percent in October, 8.4 percent in November and 8.4 percent in December.

On Thursday, the House unanimously approved legislation that includes an unemployment insurance rate schedule freeze and borrowing authorization to help manage costs of the unprecedented surge in joblessness, and unemployment claims, during the pandemic.

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