R.I. jobless rate drops to 8.7% in March, lowest since 2008
THE R.I. DEPARTMENT of Labor and Training said Thursday that Rhode Island's unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in March from February's rate of 9 percent. The state added 6,400 jobs last month on a year-over-year basis, but the number of people in the state labor force continued to show year-over-year declines.
PROVIDENCE – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Rhode Island dropped to 8.7 percent in March, according to statistics released Thursday by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
Still higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent for March, the Rhode Island figure is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008, the DLT said in a release. The Ocean State’s jobless rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point compared with February and eight-tenths of a percentage point compared with March of last year.
For the eighth consecutive month, the number of unemployed residents in Rhode Island dropped, this time by 1,100 to a total of 48,500 – the lowest unemployment level since August 2008. At the same time, the number of employed state residents increased by 2,700 in March month over month, rising to 506,000, but was unchanged year over year.
Between February and March, the Rhode Island labor force increased by 1,500 to 554,400, but that number reflected a year-over-year decline of 4,600 people.
Estimated nonfarm payroll in the state dropped to 475,800 from 476,600 in February, but the March figure represented an increase of 6,400 compared with the 469,400 total reported in March 2013.
Sectors losing jobs in the past month included Accommodation and Food Services, which lost 400 jobs; retail, which lost 300 jobs; and health care and financial activities, which each lost 200 jobs.
Industries that gained jobs between February and March included civic and social organizations, with a gain of 300 jobs; professional and business services, with a gain of 200 jobs; and transportation and utilities, and arts, entertainment and recreation, which each gained 100 jobs.
Jobs in the mining and logging sector remained unchanged.
On a year-over-year basis, 10 sectors reported job gains, notably the professional and business services industry, which gained 2,400 jobs, and entertainment and recreation and educational services sectors, which added 1,200 jobs each. Four sectors reported declines, including in health care and social assistance, which posted a loss of 500 jobs.