New data revises jobless rate up

A JOB seeker hands a recruiter a resume at the New York Career Fair in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.
Posted 2/29/12

CRANSTON – The average annual unemployment rate for Rhode Island last year was 11.3 percent – half a percentage point higher than originally estimated, according to revised labor force data.

The state Department of Labor and Training released findings from the annual revision process Wednesday, which is based on updated population estimates and job numbers.

The revision process found the seasonally adjusted unemployment level was overestimated for the first two months of the year and underestimated for the rest of 2011.

“This latest [five-year] look-back revealed that the state’s unemployment rate has been at or above 11 percent since June 2009,” it said.

The average annual number of unemployed and employed residents was also revised, with the unemployed adding 2,000 to its ranks while the employed were 5,400 fewer than previously reported.

The revised unemployment rate for December 2011 was 11 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point higher than previously reported.

The lowest seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for Rhode Island in 2011 was originally reported as 10.4 percent in October; according to the revised estimates the lowest was the December figure at 11 percent.

By contrast, the highest rate was originally reported as 11.2 percent in January; however, revised estimates say it was 11.4 percent and occurred in January, June, July and August.

The annual average number of Rhode Island-based jobs was also revised down 1,000 from original estimates.

By sector, five had downward revisions: trade by 3,000; accommodation and food services, 1,500; health care and social assistance, 300; wholesale trade, 200; and information, 100.

Two large upward revisions also took place: educational services, 1,700, and financial activities, 800. Smaller upward revision took place in the remaining categories.

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