PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August climbed to 9.1 percent, up from 8.9 percent in July, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday.
While a 1.3 percentage point decline from the August 2012 rate of 10.4 percent, the jobless figure remains higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. A year ago, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.1 percent.
The number of unemployed Rhode Islanders totaled 50,100 in August, 800 more than in July. In August 2012, that number – defined as the number of residents available for and actively seeking employment – was 58,300.
The number of Rhode Island residents with jobs dropped to 502,200 in August from 506,600 in July. A year ago, 502,900 Rhode Islanders reported being employed.
The declining unemployment rate masks a long-term negative trend in the state. The Rhode Island labor force totaled 552,200 in August, down from 556,000 in July and from 561,200 in August 2012.
Despite the rise in unemployment for Rhode Islanders, businesses in the state added 2,000 nonfarm jobs in August for a total of 468,100, up from July’s revised employment estimate of 466,100.
The August boost was fueled by a gain of 700 jobs in retail, as clothing stores, grocery stores and health and personal care stories increased their payrolls. The educational services, and accommodation and food services sectors each added 400 jobs from July.
Government, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, construction, and health care and social assistance sectors also added jobs in August.
The manufacturing industry cut 300 jobs in August, but production workers reported higher earnings, averaging $19.05 per hour, up 17 cents from July and up 80 cents from August 2012.
Other sectors trimming jobs in August included wholesale trade, financial services, and arts, entertainment and recreation. Employment in the information, and mining and logging sectors remained unchanged.
The Department of Labor and Training figures are based largely on a survey of households in Rhode Island that measures the unemployment status of people who live in the state.