R.I. unemployment falls to 9% in February, as state adds 1,500 jobs
THE R.I. DEPARTMENT of Labor and Training said Thursday that Rhode Island's unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in February from January's rate of 9.2 percent. The state added 1,500 jobs last month, driven largely by gains in the professional and businesses services sector.
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in February, as the state added 1,500 new jobs, according to the latest monthly report from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
The February rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised January rate of 9.2 percent and dropped half a percentage point from the February 2013 rate of 9.5 percent. Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent a month before, and fell a percentage point from 7.7 percent in February 2013.
February represented the seventh consecutive month-to-month decrease in the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents, which fell by 800 people in February to 49,700. At the same time, the number of employed Rhode Islanders increased by 3,600 to 503,300 in February compared with a month earlier.
On a year-over-year basis, the number of unemployed residents dropped by 3,600 in February compared with the same month last year, but the number of employed residents also declined, by 2,900.
The state’s civilian labor force – representing the sum of employed and unemployed residents in the state – totaled 552,900 in January, an increase of 2,600 people from January but a decline of 6,600 people from February 2013.
Rhode Island companies added an estimated 1,500 nonfarm payroll jobs in February, for a total of 476,700, compared with revised estimates of 475,200 for January. Sectors adding jobs in February included professional and business services, with 1,500 new jobs since January, and financial activities and other services, each with 300 jobs.
The DLT noted employment declines in wholesale trade, which lost 400 jobs; education services, with lost 300 jobs; and government and health care and social assistance, which each lost 200 jobs.
Year over year, total nonfarm employment increased by 8,400, with job gains in every economic sector except information which lost 500 jobs over the year. The sectors with the largest year-over-year gains were professional and business services, which gained 2,300 jobs; accommodation and food services, with 1,600 jobs; and arts, entertainment and recreation, with 1,100 jobs.