BLS: R.I. Dec. unemployment rate 2nd highest in N.E.

THE RHODE ISLAND UNEMPLOYMENT rate was the second highest in New England in December. / COURTESY BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
THE RHODE ISLAND UNEMPLOYMENT rate was the second highest in New England in December. / COURTESY BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island unemployment rate was the second highest in New England in December at 4.4 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.

The Ocean State unemployment rate was second only to Connecticut’s 4.6 percent unemployment rate. New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate (2.6 percent), followed by Vermont (2.8 percent), Maine (3 percent) and Massachusetts (3.5 percent).

The U.S. unemployment rate in December was 4.1 percent, 0.6 percentage points lower than a year prior.

The year-over-year unemployment rate decline in Rhode Island was 0.5 percentage points, the second largest percentage-point decline in New England behind Maine’s 0.8 percentage-point decline. Massachusetts’ year-over-year unemployment rate percentage point increase was the largest in New England at 0.4 percentage points.

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However, the Rhode Island unemployment rate saw the only month-to-month increase in New England, ticking up 0.1 percentage points from November to December.

Alaska had the highest unemployment rate of any U.S. state in December at 7.3 percent. However, Puerto Rico had the highest unemployment rate in the report at 10.9 percent. Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in December at 2 percent.

There were 497,300 on non-farm payrolls in the Ocean State in December, a 6,000-job increase from one year prior. The civilian labor force increased by 4,306 people year over year, while the number of unemployed in the state declined 2,703 to 24,547 people.

Massachusetts non-farm payrolls rose by 63,000 year over year to 3.6 million, mirroring a 63,432 rise in the civilian labor force year over year. The number of unemployed also rose by 17,949 to 128,042 people.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.