PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains the highest among New England states after rising to a seasonally adjusted 8.9 percent in July from 8.8 percent a month earlier, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Thursday.
Rhode Island joins 11 states and the District of Columbia with a jobless rate measurably higher than the national rate of 7.4 percent.
In July 2012, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate reached 10.5 percent, making the state’s year-over-year drop of 1.6 percentage points the most significant unemployment rate change among New England states.
Massachusetts also posted a rise in unemployment, up to 7.2 percent in July from 7 percent a month earlier, but remained below the national unemployment rate. In July of last year, the Bay State reported an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent.
The number of jobless Rhode Islanders fell to 49,200 in July from 49,400 a month earlier. That number, classified as the number of residents available for and actively seeking work, was 58,900 in July 2012.
The number of employed Rhode Islanders also dropped, to 506,600 from 509,000 in June. Year-over-year, the number of employed people in Rhode Island rose by 5,000, up from the July 2012 number of 501,600.
The total Ocean State labor force shrank in July to 555,900, a drop of 2,500 from June and 4,600 from July 2012.
In Massachusetts, 500 fewer people had a job in July compared with June, while the number of unemployed rose by 7,600, to 250,300 from 242,700. In July 2012, the unemployment total was 235,300.
The Massachusetts labor force grew to 3.49 million from 3.48 million. In July of last year, the state labor force totaled 3.47 million.
Of the nine census divisions in the nation, New England ranked fourth for its jobless rate of 7.2 percent, behind the West North Central (5.5 percent), West South Central (6.5 percent) and Mountain (7.1 percent). The highest unemployment rate by division was 8.2 percent, recorded in the East North Central and Pacific regions.