Despite decline, R.I. has highest unemployment rate in region in Feb.

RHODE ISLAND'S UNEMPLOYMENT rate in February was the highest in New England, and a tenth of a percentage point higher than the national average. / BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TIM BOYLE
RHODE ISLAND'S UNEMPLOYMENT rate in February was the highest in New England, and a tenth of a percentage point higher than the national average. / BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TIM BOYLE

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate in New England in February at 3.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The state unemployment rate was only a tenth of a percentage point higher than the national average of 3.8 percent for the month.

The Ocean State experienced a 0.4 percentage-point decline in unemployment from February 2017 to February 2018, the third-fastest percentage-point decline in the region. The state’s civilian labor force shrank to 555,286 in February 2018 from 555,581 in February 2017. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed declined to 21,871 people from 23,950.

 

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New England February unemployment figures:

  • New Hampshire: Declined 0.3 percentage points year over year to 2.4 percent
  • Vermont: Declined 0.3 percentage points year over year to 2.4 percent
  • Massachusetts: Declined 0.6 percentage points year over year to 3 percent
  • Maine: Increased 0.2 percentage points year over year to 3.4 percent
  • Connecticut: Declined 0.7 percentage points year over year, the most in New England, to 3.8 percent
  • Rhode Island: Declined 0.4 percentage points year over year to 3.9 percent

The BLS said seven states had statistically significant jobless-rate decreases from a year earlier, including Connecticut and Vermont.

The BLS also said two states had statistically significant increases, and 41 states and the District of Columbia had little or no change.

Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont tied for the lowest unemployment rate in the United States in February at 2.4 percent. Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.5 percent.

More details about the Rhode Island employment and unemployment figures may be read here.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.