Rhode Island’s unemployment rate drops to 9.1 percent in March

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CRANSTON — The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday, April 18, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2013 dropped to 9.1 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from the February 2013 rate and one and a half percentage points from the March 2012 rate.

This represents the lowest unemployment rate for Rhode Island since November 2008.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in March 2013, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down six-tenths of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed R.I. residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 51,100, down 1,900 from the February figure of 53,000. This represents the ninth consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since October 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 8,100.

The number of employed R.I. residents was down 500 over the February figure, decreasing to 507,800 in March. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased 8,500 from March 2012. The RI labor force totaled 558,900 in March 2013, down 2,400 from February 2012 but up 400 from March 2012.

Estimated non-farm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 467,000 in March, reflecting a gain of 1,500 jobs from the February employment estimate of 465,500. March’s job gain marks the fourth increase in the last five months.

Employment in the Professional & Business Services sector surged by 1,600 in March, as job gains were reported in the employment services, landscaping services and accounting services industries. The Professional & Business Services employment level now stands at 58,300, the highest level in 23 years.

The Construction and Manufacturing sectors each added 300 jobs over the month as employment growth was noted among specialty trade construction contractors and durable goods manufacturing workers. The Financial Activities (+200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100) and Mining & Logging (+100) sectors also added jobs in March.

Employment in five sectors—Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Information and Accommodation & Food Services—was unchanged.

Highlights:

  • RI Unemployment Rate: March 13 – 9.1%; Feb. 13 – 9.4%; March 12 – 10.6%
  • U.S. Unemployment Rate: March 13 – 7.6%; Feb. 13 – 7.7%; March 12 – 8.2%
  • RI Job Count (in thousands):  March 13 – 467.0; Feb. 13 – 465.5; March 12 – 466.3
  • The RI unemployment rate declined to 9.1 percent, its lowest level since November 2008.
  • The number of unemployed RI residents declined by 1,900 over the month.
  • RI-based jobs increased 1,500 over the month, due in part to gains in the Professional & Businesses Services sector.
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