BLS: R.I. had second-highest May unemployment in New England

RHODE ISLAND'S 4.4 percent unemployment rate in May was the second-highest in New England behind Connecticut's 4.5 percent. / BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/LUKE SHARRETT

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island had the second-highest May unemployment rate in New England, ahead of Connecticut, according to new numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

Rhode Island’s 4.4 percent unemployment just barely eked out ahead of Connecticut’s 4.5 percent unemployment. The unemployment rate remained the same from May 2017.

New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate in the region in May with a 2.7 percent unemployment. Maine and Vermont had the second-lowest unemployment rates in New England at 2.8 percent. Massachusetts reported a 3.5 percent May unemployment rate.

Rhode Island reported a 559,975-person labor force in May, compared with a 553,542-person labor force in May 2017. The number of unemployed in the state rose by 521 year over year to 24,767. Employees on nonfarm payrolls in May totaled 500,300 in preliminary data, a year-over-year increase of 7,500 workers.

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In Massachusetts, the number of unemployed declined by 9,420 year over year to 131,038. In that time, the workforce grew by 71,598 people. Employees on nonfarm payrolls increased 56,100 year over year in May to 3.7 million. The Bay State’s unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points year over year to 3.5 percent.

Unemployment rates were lower in May in 14 states and stable in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, and 39 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate edged down from April to 3.8 percent and was 0.5 percentage points lower than in May 2017.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.