R.I. jobless rate still highest in U.S. despite payroll boost

Despite a drop in Rhode Island’s unemployment rate to a seasonally adjusted 8.7 percent in March, the Ocean State again ranked as the state with the highest jobless rate in the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. More

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R.I. jobless rate still highest in U.S. despite payroll boost

COURTESY U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
RHODE ISLAND'S MARCH unemployment rate of 8.7 percent ranked as the highest in the country, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. At the same time, Rhode Island added 6,400 in total nonfarm employment between March 2013 and March 2014, a statistically significant change, the BLS said.
Posted 4/18/14

PROVIDENCE – Despite a drop in Rhode Island’s unemployment rate to a seasonally adjusted 8.7 percent in March, the Ocean State again ranked as the state with the highest jobless rate in the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Rhode Island joined four other states with an unemployment rate measurably higher than the national rate of 6.7 percent, which remained unchanged from the previous month. Nevada and Illinois each posted a jobless rate of 8.5 percent and tied for the second-highest rate in March, while the lowest state unemployment rate, 2.6 percent, was recorded in North Dakota.

On Thursday, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said estimated nonfarm payroll in the state increased by 6,400 last month to 475,800 compared with March 2013, making Rhode Island one of handful of states to report a statistically significant change in employment over the year, according to the BLS.

Rhode Island’s 8.7 percent unemployment rate in March was its lowest since September 2008.

Forty-six U.S. states and the District of Columbia registered lower unemployment rates in March compared with a year earlier, while four states reported increases. On a month-over-month basis, 21 states saw their unemployment rates decline, 17 states and the District of Columbia reported increases, and 12 states saw no change.

In Massachusetts, the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in March, seasonally adjusted. A month earlier, in February, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was 6.5 percent and in March 2013 the rate was 6.9 percent.

Among the six New England states, Vermont boasted the region’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent, followed by New Hampshire with 4.5 percent and Maine with 5.9 percent. Connecticut ranked fifth, below Massachusetts, with 7 percent.

In a ranking of the nine census divisions in the nation, New England claimed the fourth-lowest unemployment rate at 6.3 percent. West North Central, with 5.1 percent, registered the lowest regional rate, followed by West South Central at 5.4 percent, South Atlantic with 6.1 percent and Mountain with 6.4 percent.

The highest unemployment rate by division was 7.6 percent, recorded in the Pacific region.

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