PROVIDENCE – After three consecutive months of declines, the unemployment rate for the Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area climbed slightly in May to 8 percent nonseasonally adjusted, compared with 7.8 percent a month earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
The increase caused Providence-Fall River-Warwick to rank once again as the region with the highest unemployment rate among the 49 metro areas with a 2000 U.S. Census population of 1 million or more, tying with Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., which also reported 8 percent jobless rates.
On a year-over-year basis, the metro area’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined 1.6 percentage points in May from 9.6 percent during the same month last year. The Providence-Fall River-Warwick labor force declined to 689,000 in May from 690,000 in May 2013, but increased over the 684,300 reported for April, the BLS said.
Nationally, 357 of the 372 metro areas across the United States reported unemployment rates in May that were lower than in May 2013, with the lowest coming in at 2.2 percent in Bismarck, N.D. Eleven metro areas had jobless rates greater than a year ago, while four regions saw no change in their unemployment rates.
Regionally, the New Bedford metropolitan area saw month-over-month and year-over-year declines in its jobless rate. The May unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, compared with 10.4 percent in May 2013 and 8.6 percent in April. The year-over-year decline of 2.8 percentage points was the most significant decrease of any metro area in the country.
The New Bedford labor force shrank by 3,000 between April and May, and by 1,000 from a year earlier.
In Worcester, the May unemployment rate of 5.6 percent represented a decline from 6.1 percent a month earlier and from 7.5 percent in May 2013. The Norwich-New London, Conn., metro area reported a nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in May, an increase over the 6.8 percent reported in April but a decrease over the 8 percent reported in May 2013.
The national nonseasonally adjusted jobless rate for May was 6.1 percent.