Despite drop in January, R.I. jobless rate still highest in U.S.

Rhode Island’s January unemployment rate of 9.2 percent ranked as the highest unemployment rate in the country for the third month in a row, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Monday. More

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Despite drop in January, R.I. jobless rate still highest in U.S.

COURTESY BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
RHODE ISLAND'S JANUARY unemployment rate of 9.2 percent ranked as the highest in the country, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. The national unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January.
Posted 3/17/14

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s January unemployment rate of 9.2 percent ranked as the highest unemployment rate in the country for the third month in a row, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Monday.

Rhode Island joined five other states with a jobless rate measurably higher than the national rate of 6.6 percent. Nevada and Illinois tied for the second-highest rate, both at 8.7 percent in January. The lowest state unemployment rate, 2.6 percent, was recorded in North Dakota.

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported earlier this month that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped in January to a seasonally adjusted 9.2 percent from 9.3 percent a month before. On a year-over-year basis, Rhode Island’s jobless rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point.

All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia reported lower unemployment rates in January compared with the same month a year earlier.

In addition to the slight drop in unemployment rate, Rhode Island also reported an increase in the number of employed Rhode Islanders in January. Employment in the state totaled 475,000 compared with 471,200 in December. The 3,800 gain represented an increase of eight-tenths of a percent, ranking the Ocean State second in the country for the largest month-over-month percentage increase in employment between December and January.

In Massachusetts, the unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in January, compared with 7.1 percent in December and 6.9 percent in January 2013, but remained above the national rate for a third consecutive month.

Among the six New England states, Vermont boasted the region’s lowest unemployment rate, at 4 percent, followed by New Hampshire with 4.9 percent and Maine with 6.2 percent. Connecticut ranked fifth, below Massachusetts, with 7.2 percent.

The national unemployment rate dipped to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December.

In a ranking of the nine census divisions in the nation, New England tied at dead-center for its seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of 6.7 percent, the same as the unemployment rate in the Middle Atlantic region. West North Central (4.8 percent) registered the lowest regional rate, followed by West South Central (5.7 percent), South Atlantic (6.2 percent) and Mountain (6.4 percent) regions.

The highest unemployment rate by division was 7.7 percent, recorded in the Pacific region.

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