Updated March 24 at 12:29am

R.I. jobless rate rises in February


CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s jobless rate rose to 11 percent in February, up one-tenth of one percentage point from January, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Friday.

It was the first monthly increase in the Ocean State’s unemployment rate since June.

Compared with February 2011, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point – the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

There were 497,300 Rhode Island residents with jobs in February, the lowest number since January 1997 and down 4,000 from February 2011. There were 1,500 more Rhode Island residents without jobs last month than in January.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains well above the national average of 8.3 percent in February, which was flat from January and down seven-tenths of a percentage point from February 2011.

The number of jobless Rhode Islanders looking for work in February - 61,700 - increased by 400 from January. There were 2,000 fewer jobless Rhode Island residents looking for work compared with last February.

Despite the increase in jobless residents, the estimated Rhode Island non-farm payroll in February added 500 jobs from the revised January estimate to reach 458,400 people, ending six consecutive months of job losses.

Sectors of the economy gaining jobs in February included accommodation and food service, which added 1,000 jobs since January; professional and business services, which added 700 jobs; and private educational services, which added 400 jobs.

Sectors losing jobs included construction, which lost 700 positions; “other services,” which lost 200 jobs; and financial activities, which lost 200 jobs.

Year-over-year, non-farm payroll has dropped by 1,000 jobs from last February.

In manufacturing, the average hourly wage for production workers rose 38 cents from January and $3.15 from last February to reach $18.11 per hour.


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