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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped to 0.1 percentage points to 9.8 percent in January, its lowest level since January 2009, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday.
The unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points, from the revised 9.9 percent reported for December 2012 and 1 percentage point from the 10.8 percent reported in January 2012.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents actually dropped by 700 from 507,600 in December 2012 to 506,900 in January but the number of unemployed residents – those who are available for and actively seeking employment - also declined by 700 from 55,600 in December 2012 to 54,900 in January.
Since the Rhode Island labor force dropped 1,400 from December 2012, totaling 561,800 in January, the unemployment rate fell.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents increased by 9,000 from January 2012 to January 2013. The number of unemployed residents dropped by 5,300 during the same time period.
The labor force for January was up 3,700 from January 2012.
January’s preliminary employment increase was due to reported growth in the accommodations and food services (1,600 gains) and retail trade (1,000 gains) sectors which were offset by a 1,400 job loss in the professional and business services sector.
Other gains were reported in the financial activities (800), educational services (500), construction (300), and wholesale trade (300) sectors.
Losses also were reported by 200 jobs in the transportation and utilities and other services sectors.
Manufacturing production workers in January earned $18.55 per hour, up $.14 from December 2012 and up $.82 from January 2012.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.8 hours per week in January, up four-tenths of an hour from December 2012 and up three-tenths of an hour from January 2012.