Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remained the same, in February, compared to one year ago and compared to January, 2008.

The unemployment rate for Massachusetts was 4.5 percent for February 2008, a slight dip from the 4.7 percent rate of February 2007. In February 2006 the state’s unemployment rate was at 4.8 percent.

The department reported about 151,700 people were unemployed in February compared to 159,400 who were unemployed in February 2007. The workforce in February 2008 was 3.408 million, down from 3.412 million in February 2007, and down from January 2008, which reported 3.422 million workers in the state.

“That leaves me to believe that people are leaving the labor workforce because they’re discouraged with limited prospects for jobs,” said [Walter] Marshall, of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I don’t know enough about the labor market to disagree, but it seems to me, the change in the labor force is small, has only been for one month, and that these are preliminary numbers, so you shouldn’t draw conclusions as to why less people are looking for jobs.

Source: Mass. unemployment rate flat in February – By Naomi R Kooker, Boston Business Journal, quoting Bureau of Labor Statistics data