By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent for October, a drop of one-tenth of a percentage point from September, as the state gained the largest number of employed residents in one month since 1976, according to figures released Thursday by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
The number of employed residents rose by 5,200 over the September figure, totaling 504,700 for October and representing the largest monthly increase since the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics implemented its current methodology. It also marks the third consecutive month the state has seen an increase in employed residents.
As a result, despite the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents remaining static at 58,700 for October, the same as September, the unemployment rate saw a decline.
The unemployment rate drop represents the sixth consecutive month of unemployment rate decreases and puts the rate eight-tenths of a percentage point below the October 2011 rate of 11.2 percent.
Also, the state’s labor force totaled 563,400 in October, a 5,300-person increase from September 2012 and an 800-person increase from October 2011, marking the first year-over-year increase in the labor force since November 2010.
While more Rhode Islanders found work in October, there were 2,500 fewer jobs in the month in the Ocean State than in either September or October 2011.
The accommodation and food services sector reported a 1,500 job loss, and educational services reported a 1,100 job loss. There also were reported job losses in construction (400), transportation and utilities (300), and wholesale trade (100).
Three hundred jobs were added each in the professional and business services, health care and social assistance, and manufacturing sectors in October. Financial activities, retail trade, and arts, entertainment, and recreation each added 100 jobs from September.
For October, manufacturing wages were increased 16 cents from September, and $1.00 from October 2011, reaching $18.46 per hour. Manufacturing workers worked an average of 40 hours per week in October, down four-tenths of an hour from September, but up nine-tenths of an hour from October 2011.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent for October, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 7.8 in September and down from 8.9 percent in October 2011.