By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
CRANSTON – The state’s jobless rate marked a fourth consecutive month of improvement in August, falling to 10.7 percent according to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
A department report released Friday shows the rate is a 0.1 percent point decrease from the 10.8 percent July rate and 0.7 percentage point decrease from the 11.4 percent August 2011 rate.
The August rate is the state’s lowest unemployment rate since May 2009.
For the month, however, the loss in unemployed residents outweighed the gain in employed residents, resulting in a diminished state labor force. For August, the Rhode Island labor force totaled 554,700, down 100 from July and down 8,300 from August 2011.
The state saw a 1,100 jobs gain in estimated nonfarm payroll for August, the first employment increase in three months, with the greatest gain, at 900 jobs, in the accommodation and food services sector.
Gains also were reported in other sectors including health care and social assistance with 800 jobs, education services with 400 jobs, construction with 300 jobs and financial activities with 200 jobs.
Losses were reported in retail trade, which lost 600 jobs, professional and business services and manufacturing, which both lost 500 jobs, government, which lost 300 jobs and arts, entertainment and recreation, which lost 100 jobs.
The average hourly production wage for manufacturing was $18.25, down $.32 from July and up $1.32 from August 2011. Manufacturing workers worked an average of 39.8 hours per week.
The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July and down from 9.1 percent in August 2011.