By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent for February, as the number of employed Rhode Island residents rose by 1,300 from January, representing a fairly good-news month for the state as it still struggles to recover from the economic downturn, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday.
February’s unemployment rate fell four-tenths of a percentage point from January and represented a 1.3 percentage point decline from the 10.7 percent rate in February 2012.
The number of employed residents stood at 508,200 for February, the highest employment level since February 2009.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents – those who are available for and actively seeking employment - fell 1,900 from January 2013 and represented the eighth consecutive monthly decrease and the lowest unemployment level since November 2008.
Job gains were seen in the health care and social assistance sector , professional and business services , other services , and transportation and utilities .
Losses were seen in accommodation and food services [1,600], retail trade , educational services , manufacturing , construction , and wholesale trade .
A smaller loss of 100 jobs was seen in the financial activities, government, arts, entertainment and recreation, and mining sectors.
Manufacturing production workers in February earned $18.72 per hour, an 11 cent per hour gain from January and a 63 cent increase from February 2012.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.7 percent for February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from January and below the 8.3 percent rate in February 2012.