WASHINGTON – Despite the three-tenths of a percentage point decline in its unemployment rate in April, to 8.8 percent, Rhode Island still has the sixth-highest jobless rate in the nation, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nevada retained the top spot, with an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, a one-tenth of a percentage point drop from March. Rounding out the first five on the list were Illinois (with a rate of 9.3 percent), Mississippi (9.1 percent), California (9.0 percent) and North Carolina (8.9 percent). New Jersey, at 8.7 percent, was right behind Rhode Island. The national, seasonally adjusted rate was 7.5 percent for the month.
Rhode Island’s decline of 1.8 percentage points from April 2012 to last month was driven both by an increase in the number of people working in the state of 2,700 (to 467,400) and a drop in the size of the labor force in the state of 700 (to 558,200).
The Ocean State continues to lag the unemployment rate in New England, according to the BLS, which posted a seasonally adjust rate in April of 6.8 percent, a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point from April 2012. Only the West North Central (5.4 percent) and West South Central (6.3 percent) census divisions did better than New England for the month. Of the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific division turned in the worst performance, posting an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in April.
Leading the way for the northeast corner of the nation was Vermont, with a jobless rate of 4 percent in April, followed by New Hampshire (5.5 percent), Massachusetts (6.4 percent), Maine (6.9 percent) and Connecticut (8 percent). The United States’ lowest unemployment rate was reported by North Dakota, at 3.3 percent.