PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched downward in January to 9.2 percent, the lowest rate since November 2008, according to the latest monthly report from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
The January rate dropped to 9.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised December 2013 rate of 9.3 percent and down four-tenths of a percentage point from the January 2013 rate of 9.6 percent.
The slide in Rhode Island’s jobless rate mirrored the trend on the national level, as the U.S. unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent the month before. In January 2013, the national unemployment rate was three-tenths percentage points higher at 7.9 percent.
The January figures came after last week’s annual revisions showing that Rhode Island’s 9.5 percent average unemployment rate for 2013 was the second-highest in the country, and the civilian labor force in the state dropped by 3,000 people.
Nonetheless, the DLT reported mostly good news for Rhode Island in January, which represented the sixth consecutive month-to-month decrease in the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents, taking the revised December figure of 51,100 down to 50,600. At the same time, the number of employed Rhode Island residents increased by 700, to 499,700, in January compared with a month earlier.
The state’s civilian labor force – representing the sum of employed and unemployed residents in the state – totaled 550,300 in January, up 200 from December 2013 but down 9,700 from January 2013.
On a year-over-year basis, the number of unemployed residents dropped by 3,200 in January compared with January 2013, but the number of employed residents also declined by 6,500.
Rhode Island companies added an estimated 3,800 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, for a total of 475,000, compared with revised estimates of 471,200 for December. The January figure marks the highest level since October 2008, the DLT said.
Sectors adding jobs in January included educational services, with 1,600 new jobs since December; health care and social assistance, with 700 jobs (reaching an all time high of 81,100); and wholesale trade and other services, with 400 jobs each.
The DLT noted minor employment declines in professional and business services, which lost 200 josb; and transportation and utilities, which lost 100 jobs, with no change reported in the mining and logging sectors.
Year over year, total nonfarm employment increased by 6,100, with job gains in 11 economic sectors, including accommodation and food services, with 1,300 new jobs; professional and business services, with 1,100 jobs; arts, entertainment and recreation, with 1,000 jobs; manufacturing, with 900 jobs; health care and social assistance, with 700 jobs; retail trade, with 600 jobs; wholesale trade, with 500 jobs; transportation and utilities, with 300 jobs; financial activities, with 200 jobs; and other services and government, with 100 jobs each.
Construction employment, while information services lost 400 jobs, educational services lost 200 jobs, and mining and logging lost 100 jobs.