By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – The jobless rate in Rhode Island dropped to 10.9 percent in January, the 15th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases, the state labor department said Monday.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised December 2011 rate – marking the fifth-consecutive monthly decrease.
The number of employed Rhode Islanders fell by 1,000 from December 2011 to January 2012, when it totaled 498,900.
The national jobless rate was 8.3 percent in January, down eight-tenths of a percentage point over the year.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents – those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment – was 61,300 in January, the lowest level since June 2009. The change was an 800-person decrease over the revised December figure and a 3,100-person drop over the year.
The number of local residents receiving unemployment insurance differs from the number of unemployed due to eligibility requirements. The average weekly claim load for UI benefits was 35,738 in January – up 9.4 percent from the December average but down 10.4 percent from the January 2011 average.
The estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 457,700 in January, losing 200 jobs from the revised December employment estimate of 457,900 – the fifth monthly decline over the last six months.
Sectors losing jobs in January included: construction, down 900 jobs due to reported cutbacks in specialty trade contractors; financial activities sector, down 700 jobs over the month with reported declines in credit intermediation and financial investments; and the accommodation and food services sector, which reported an over-the-month loss of 700 jobs, mainly due to declines in the special food services and full-service restaurants.
Sectors that added jobs included: retail trade, up 1,000; manufacturing, up 400; and “other services,” up 400.
Production workers in the manufacturing sector earned $17.75 per hour in January, up $2.83 from January 2011. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.6 hours per week in January – up one-tenth of an hour over the month and up two-and-five-tenths hours over the year.