By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s December unemployment rate of 9.1 percent ranked as the highest unemployment rate in the country for the second month in a row, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
Rhode Island joins eight states and the District of Columbia with a jobless rate measurably higher than the national rate of 6.7 percent. The lowest state unemployment rate, 2.6 percent, was recorded in North Dakota.
In November, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate of 9 percent had tied with Nevada for highest in the country, but while Nevada’s jobless rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 8.8 percent in December, Rhode Island’s rose 0.1 percentage point.
Rhode Island was one of only two states to experience a month-over-month increase in unemployment in December.
In Massachusetts, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 7 percent in December, down from 7.1 percent in November, but remained above the national rate for a second consecutive month. November was the first time since 2007 that the Bay State’s jobless rate exceeded the national rate.
Among the six New England states, Vermont boasted the region’s lowest unemployment rate, at 4.2 percent, followed by New Hampshire with 5.1 percent and Maine with 6.2 percent. Connecticut ranked fifth, below Massachusetts, with 7.4 percent.
The national unemployment rate dipped to 6.7 percent in December from 7 percent in November.
In a ranking of the nine census divisions in the nation, New England placed dead-center for its seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of 6.8 percent, trailing the West North Central (4.7 percent), West South Central (6 percent), South Atlantic (6.4 percent) and Mountain (6.5 percent) regions. The highest unemployment rate by division was 7.8 percent, recorded in the Pacific region.