PROVIDENCE – The unemployment rate in Rhode Island and the Providence-Fall River-Warwick metropolitan area dropped in September and October compared with the same periods last year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nonseasonally adjusted data released Thursday.
In addition, both regions saw their jobless rates decline on a monthly basis between August and October.
Meanwhile, the civilian labor force continued to shrink both in the metro area and on the state level, with larger labor-force declines in September and October compared with August.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics metro area labor force and unemployment report for September, originally scheduled for release on Oct. 30, was canceled due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. Thursday’s report of the October figures included the first official estimates of the September labor force and unemployment numbers.
The BLS reported a non-seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate of 8.9 percent for the metro area, which extends into Bristol County, Mass. The figure represents a year-over-year decline of 0.7 percentage points compared with the 9.6 percent rate reported for September 2012, as well as a month-over-month decline of 0.7 percentage points over the August rate, also 9.6 percent.
In October, the metro area unemployment rate fell another 0.3 percentage points from the month earlier to 8.6 percent. Compared with the October 2012 rate of 9.4 percent, the unemployment rate represented a year-over-year decline of 0.8 percentage points.
The Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area reported a labor force of 687,600 in September, showing a decline of 10,600 compared with September 2012, and a decline of 4,200 when compared with August. In October, the labor force shrank to 686,400, a decline of 14,400 compared with October 2012.
The change in Rhode Island’s employment numbers paralleled the metro area figures, with the September jobless rate falling 0.8 percentage points to 8.7 percent compared with September 2012, and falling 0.7 percentage points from August’s rate of 9.4 percent.
In October, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent, a decline of 1.1 percentage points compared with October 2012.
The Ocean State’s labor force shrank by 10,100 people between September 2012 and September 2013 to 553,000, and declined by 2,400 people compared with August. The labor force fell to 552,700 in October, dropping 13,100 compared with the previous October.
In August, the Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area labor force decreased year over year by 9,500, while the statewide labor force shrank by 10,000, signifying more dramatic shrinking of the labor force in September and October.
Nationally, 280 of the 372 metro areas across the United States showed unemployment rates in October that were lower than in October 2012, with the lowest (Bismarck, N.D.) coming in at 1.7 percent. Seventy-nine metro areas had jobless rates higher than a year ago (Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., had the highest at 31.9 percent), while 13 regions saw no change in their unemployment rates.
The national non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 7 percent, down from 7.5 percent a year earlier.