PROVIDENCE – Although Rhode Island’s unemployment rate posted a significant drop in June to 7.9 percent, the state jobless rate tied with Mississippi as the highest in the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Between June 2013 and June 2014, the Ocean State’s jobless rate fell 1.6 percentage points from 9.5 percent to 7.9 percent. Month over month, the unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point from 8.2 percent, making Rhode Island one of six states nationwide to report statistically significant jobless rate declines compared with May.
However, Rhode Island was also one of nine U.S. states with an unemployment rate significantly higher than the U.S. rate of 6.1 percent. June represented the eighth consecutive month that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate registered as the highest rate in the country.
In Massachusetts, the unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in June, seasonally adjusted. A month earlier, in May, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was 5.6 percent and the June 2013 the rate was 7.1 percent.
Among the six New England states, Vermont had the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, but was also the only state that saw a significant month-over-month increase over May’s unemployment rate, which was 3.3 percent in Vermont. New Hampshire reported a jobless rate of 4.4 percent in June, while Maine’s rate came in at 5.5 percent. Connecticut, at 6.7 percent, ranked fifth in New England, below Massachusetts.
Nationally, the lowest state unemployment rate, 2.7 percent, was recorded in North Dakota.
Twenty-two U.S. states and the District of Columbia registered lower unemployment rates in June compared with a year earlier, while 14 states reported increases and 14 states saw no change.
In a ranking of the nine census divisions in the nation, New England claimed the third-lowest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent. West North Central, with 5 percent, was the region with the lowest jobless rate, while the highest unemployment rate by division was 7.5 percent, recorded in the East South Central region.