Providence metro unemployment rate in Dec. declines to 3.7%

THE NONSEASONALLY adjusted unemployment rate in the Providence metro area declined 0.4 percentage points year over year to 3.7 percent in December. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/GABBY JONES
THE NONSEASONALLY adjusted unemployment rate in the Providence metro area declined 0.4 percentage points year over year to 3.7 percent in December. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/GABBY JONES

PROVIDENCE – The nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Providence-Warwick-Fall River metropolitan area was 3.7 percent in December, a 0.4 percentage-point decline year over year and a 0.1 percentage-point increase month to month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday.

Rhode Island’s unadjusted unemployment rate was level with the U.S. unemployment rate, which declined 0.2 percentage points year over year.

There were 25,641 unemployed in the metro area, a decline of 2,305 people year over year. At the same time the region’s labor force increased 1.7 percent to 696,587. Nonfarm payrolls in the metro area totaled 603,500, a 7,300-worker increase over the year.

The Rhode Island, nonadjusted unemployment rate in December was 3.8 percent, a 0.4 percentage-point decline year over year.

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In the New Bedford metro area, unemployment, nonseasonally adjusted, was 4 percent in December, a 0.7 percentage-point decline year over year. The number of unemployed in the area was 3,531, a 424-person decline year over year. The labor force increased 4,184 people, or 5 percent, in that time to 87,886. Nonfarm employment in the metro area increased 1,300 year over year to 69,400 workers.

The unadjusted unemployment rate in Massachusetts in December was 2.7 percent, a 0.4 percentage-point decline year over year.

The unemployment rate was lower in December than a year earlier in 250 of the 388 metropolitan areas surveyed by the BLS, higher in 116 areas and unchanged in 22 areas.

The Ames, Iowa, metro area had the lowest unemployment rate of any metro in the nation in December at 1.4 percent. The highest unemployment rate was recorded in El Centro, Calif., at 17.3 percent.

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