Bay State unemployment ticks up to 3.6%; Somerville-based Bluebird gets approval for brain disease therapy

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The unemployment rate in Massachusetts rose slightly in August, though employers added 6,400 new jobs, state officials reported.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced a 3.6% jobless rate for August, up from 3.5% the month before, but still below the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The largest private sector job gains over the last month were in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services.

State officials reported that Massachusetts has gained back 632,500 jobs since April 2020, and from August 2021 to August 2022, Massachusetts has gained 126,400 new jobs, EOLWD said citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Somerville-based Bluebird gets approval for brain disease therapy

Bluebird Bio Inc.’s gene therapy for a brain-wasting disease received accelerated approval from U.S. regulators, making it the first treatment of its kind for children living with cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy.

The one-time treatment will be sold under the name Skysona and cost $3 million, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Obenshain said in an interview Friday. That price is a record in the U.S. The approval allows Somerville-based Bluebird to introduce its gene therapy under the condition it provides long-term data to prove the treatment’s benefit, according to a company statement.

Bluebird’s therapy, also known as eli-cel, treats cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, or CALD, a rare genetic condition that afflicts young boys and can cause rapid deterioration and death. Until now, the only treatment available for this condition was a stem-cell transplant from a sibling or a matched donor.

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