Updated January 30 at 8:30am

R.I. jobless rate rises after 10 months of decline

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.9 percent in May after 10 consecutive months of declines, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Thursday. More

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R.I. jobless rate rises after 10 months of decline

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CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.9 percent in May after 10 consecutive months of declines, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Thursday.

The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points from 8.8 percent last month, but fell 1.8 percentage points year over year from May 2012.

The national unemployment also rose 0.1 percentage points in May to 7.6 percent.

There were 49,600 Rhode Islanders without jobs in May, an increase of 200 from April, but a decrease of 9,600 from May 2012.

The 509,300 Rhode Islanders with jobs in May represented an increase of 400 people from last month and 9,100 from May 2012. The May 2013 figure represented the largest number of employed Rhode Islanders since February 2009.

Along with the number of employed Rhode Islanders, the state’s labor force also increased in May to 558,900, up 600 from April, but down 500 year over year from May 2012.

The 466,900 non-farm jobs based in Rhode Island in May represented a loss of 200 jobs from the revised April employment estimate of 467,100.

According to the DLT report, larger than usual employment losses at colleges and universities contributed to a 1,100-job drop in the educational services sector.

Job declines were less severe in “other services,” which lost 300 jobs; professional and business services, which lost 200 jobs; health care and social assistance and manufacturing sectors, which lost 100 jobs each.

Employment in five sectors – construction, financial activities, government, information and mining and logging – was unchanged in May.

Offsetting some of the declines was a gain of 700 jobs in the accommodation and food services sector. According to the DLT report, all major components of the industry – accommodations, restaurants and drinking establishments – posted over-the-month employment gains.

The state’s retail sector added 500 jobs since April as food and beverage stores and automotive parts stores increased monthly payrolls.

There were also gains reported in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, which gained 200 jobs; transportation and warehousing, which gained 100 jobs and wholesale trade, which gained 100 jobs.

Year over year, total nonfarm employment increased by 1,600 as jobs gained in professional and business services; financial activities; health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment and recreation; manufacturing and other services.

From May 2012 to May 2013, the state’s non-farm employment fell in the educational services sector, construction, government, information, retail trade and wholesale trade.

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