R.I. labor force improves year over year for first time since April 2013
THE R.I. DEPARTMENT of Labor and Training said Thursday that Rhode Island's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.2 percent in May from April's rate of 8.3 percent. Meanwhile, the labor force increased on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis for the first time this year, totaling 557,800.
PROVIDENCE – Unemployment in Rhode Island slid one-tenth of a percentage point in May to a seasonally adjusted 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in April, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday.
Last month also represented the first time since April 2013 that the state’s civilian labor force improved on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The labor force totaled 557,800 in May, an increase of 2,000 compared with April and an increase of 100 compared with May 2013.
The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged in May at 6.3 percent, the DLT said, which represented a decline of 1.2 percentage points year over year.
In Rhode Island, the number of jobs improved last month, increasing to 477,600 from 475,600 in April and from 470,100 in May 2013. For a 10th consecutive month, the number of unemployed Rhode Islanders dropped month over month, falling by 600 to 45,600. Year over year, the number of unemployed dropped by 7,300.
Meanwhile, there were 512,200 employed residents in May, an increase of 2,700 over April and an increase of 7,400 compared with May last year.
“The last five months have been a period showing a significant positive trend which demonstrates that in our view recovery has gained traction here,” said DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty in a phone interview. “Of course we want to see it continue. We have made a lot of progress over the last five months, but we still have a long way to go to get back to where we were pre-recession.”
Fogarty said the 1.1 percentage point decline in Rhode Island’s unemployment since January is the largest five-month decline since 1984, which the 6,400 increase in Rhode Island-based jobs was the largest since 1992.
In May, gains were also reflected in estimated nonfarm payroll, which totaled 477,600 in May, 2,000 jobs greater than the revised April total of 475,600.
Industry reporting payroll increases in May included professional and business services, which added 1,400 jobs; accommodation and food services, which added 800 jobs; and manufacturing, which added 600 jobs.
Job losses were reported in educational services, which shed 900 jobs; other services, down 500 jobs; and information, down 100 jobs.