According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 207 of the 372 largest metro areas in December, the largest decline since September.
Boston remains below the national unemployment rate, which dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent in December. However, about half the decline was due to unemployed workers who decided to pull out of the job market.
Boston added 32,600 jobs last year, the third-most after Dallas and Washington, causing the metropolitan unemployment rate to drop from 8.3 to 7.1 percent in just a year.
Unlike the national figures, Boston’s drop in unemployment is not adjusted to reflect trends such as the hiring of agricultural workers in the fall or retail employees during holiday seasons.
Boston has added many jobs in the growing information technology field. Companies like Intel and EMC Corp., which both have branches in Boston, are hiring more employees as the demand for their products increases. Growth in the biotechnology and biomedical fields has also benefited Boston’s job market.
Despite these encouraging figures, Boston-based nonprofit Project Bread, which aims to reduce and ultimately to end hunger in Massachusetts, reported in a Nov. 3 press release that 660,000 Massachusetts residents still struggle to find their meals, an almost 20 percent increase over the past year.
“Unemployment, lost savings and foreclosures are becoming all too familiar to families who once felt securely middle class and now are facing hunger for the first time in their lives,” the report says.
However in December, a press release from the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance stated that from 2005 to 2010, there has been a 30 percent decrease in homelessness in Boston and a 25 percent decrease in chronic homelessness.
These figures came from homeless census data from the City of Boston and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.