PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent in April from 8.7 in March, according to seasonally adjusted data provided by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
The four-tenths-of-a-percentage point decline parallels the same reduction experienced nationwide; the U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March, the DLT said in a release.
The 8.3 percent rate is the lowest level of unemployment in Rhode Island since August 2008. The number of jobs in the state also showed improvement in April, increasing by 700 from March and by 6,700 from April 2013.
The unemployment rate a year ago was 9.5 percent in Rhode Island and 7.5 percent nationally.
For the ninth consecutive month, the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents dropped month over month. In April, there were 46,200 unemployed Rhode Island residents, 2,300 fewer than the 48,500 reported in March. This also represents the lowest unemployment level since July 2008. Year-over-year, the number of jobless Rhode Islanders declined by 6,600, the state reported.
Meanwhile, there were 509,500 employed residents in April, an increase of 3,600 over March and an increase of 3,900 compared with April last year.
The state’s labor force totaled 555,800 in April, 1,400 more than in March but 2,700 fewer compared with a year ago.
“When I took office in January of 2011, the unemployment rate was 11.4 percent and now it’s 8.3 percent,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in prepared remarks. “Rhode Island’s approach to economic development continues to pay dividends. Through investments in education, infrastructure and workforce development, we are building our state’s economy in the right manner and creating a solid foundation for the future.”
Gains were also reflected in estimated nonfarm payroll, which totaled 476,000 in April, 700 jobs greater than in March. That increase reflects three out of four months registering gains this year, for a total increase so far of 4,800 jobs.
According to the release from Chafee’s office, the number of Rhode Island-based jobs increased by 4,100 in the first quarter, the largest first-quarter gain since 1992.
Increases included 900 more jobs for construction in April, compared with March – the sector’s largest employment level since May 2009. Health care added 700 jobs; retail added 500 jobs; government increased by 300 jobs, while financial activities and information each added 100 jobs. Arts, entertainment and recreation, and mining and logging remained unchanged.
Job losses in the professional and business services sector totaled 800 in April, compared with a month ago, with landscaping and tree service occupations possibly affected by the unseasonably cooler weather.
Employment in the accommodation and food services sector, which also may have been affected by the weather, dropped by 300 jobs since March. Other job losses included education services, wholesale trade, and other services, down 200 each; and manufacturing and transportation and utilities, both down by 100.