The unemployment rate remains at 4.9%; Stock market, increased savings boost retirement accounts

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The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9% in July, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported.

Preliminary employment estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Massachusetts gained 43,400 jobs in July. This follows last month’s 11,200 job gain.

From July 2020 to July 2021, Massachusetts created approximately 254,200 jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest gain of 83,600 jobs during the year, followed by professional and business services, with 44,400 jobs added.

The unemployment rate for July was 0.5 percentage point lower than the national rate of 5.4% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Stock market, increased savings boost retirement accounts

Strong stock market gains during much of the pandemic and workers devoting more of their wages to their golden years are paying off for many retirement savers.

The average 401 (k) plan balance rose 24% to a record high $ 129,300 in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to a review of 19.8 million accounts by Fidelity Investments.

The median balance, a better measure of the size of a typical plan, was only $ 29,000, up 22% from the previous year. According to the Investment Company Institute, an association representing investment funds, only 60 million Americans actively participated in 401 (k) plans last year.

Pension plans were also given a boost, with contributions from employees, more than half of Gen Z workers, reaching an all-time high in the second quarter.


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