CRANSTON — The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2013 dropped to 9.4 percent, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the January 2013 rate and one and three-tenths percentage points from the February 2012 rate.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in February 2013, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down six-tenths of a percentage point over the year.
The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 53,000, down 1,900 from the January figure of 54,900. This represents the eighth consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since November 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 6,600.
The number of employed RI residents was up 1,300 over the January figures, increasing to 508,200 in February. This is the highest employment level since February 2009. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased 9,600 from February 2012.
The RI labor force totaled 561,200 in February 2013, down 600 from January 2012 but up 3,000 from February 2012.
Estimated non-farm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 465,500 in February, reflecting a loss of 2,600 jobs from the revised January employment estimate of 468,100. February’s
unexpected sharp decline, tabulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ends three consecutive months of job gains.
Over half of the jobs lost in February—1,600—were reported in Accommodation & Food Services, returning the sector to its November employment level. Declining payrolls were noted in limited service restaurants (generally establishments where items are ordered and paid for before eating) and drinking establishments.
The Retail Trade and Educational Services sectors also experienced sizable losses in February, shedding 600 and 500 positions, respectively. Several retail industries reported cutbacks, including auto dealers, electronic & appliance stores, building material stores and department stores (including discount department stores).
In Educational Services, the employment level in colleges and universities fell short of the typical February level, resulting in an over-the-month job decline. Smaller employment losses were reported in the Manufacturing (-300), Construction (-200), Wholesale Trade (-200), Financial Activities (-100), Government (-100), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) and Mining (-100) sectors.
The Health Care & Social Assistance sector added 500 jobs in February as employment increases were reported in the hospitals, nursing & residential care facilities and social assistance subsectors. Positive job gains were also reported in the Professional & Business Services (+300), Other Services (+300) and Transportation & Utilities
(+100) sectors, while the Information sector remained unchanged.
Comparative Statistics: Feb 13/Jan 13/Feb 12
RI Unemployment Rate: 9.4% 9.8% 10.7%
U.S. Unemployment Rate: 7.7% 7.9% 8.3%
RI Job Count (in thousands): 465.5 468.1 465.3
• The RI unemployment rate declined to 9.4 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.
• The number of unemployed RI residents declined by 1,900 over the month.
• RI-based jobs decreased 2,600 over the month, due, in part, to losses in the Accommodation & Food Services sector.