CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell to 9.1 percent in March, the lowest unemployment rate for the Ocean State since November 2008, spurred by a large job gain in the professional and businesses services sector, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday.
March’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points from February and represented a 1.5 percentage point decline from the 10.6 percent jobless rate in Rhode Island in March 2012.
However, the number of employed of employed residents fell by 500 from February, to 507,800 in March, though the over the year, the number of employed residents increased by 8,500.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents – those who are available for and actively seeking employment - fell 1,900 from February 2013and represented the ninth consecutive monthly decrease.
A 1,600 jobs gain in the professional and business services sector, from reported increased in employment services, landscaping services, and accounting services, puts the sector at its highest level in 23 years.
Job gains also were seen in construction and manufacturing , financial activities , arts, entertainment, and recreation , and mining and lodging .
Employment was unchanged in wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and utilities, information, and accommodation and food services.
There were losses reported in health care and social assistance  and government .
In March the manufacturing rage was $19.01 per hour, up $.26 from February and up $.83 from March 2012.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent for March, down from 7.7 percent in February and from 8.2 percent in March 2012.