Report: Providence metro labor force ticks up in January

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE in the Providence-Warwick-Fall River metropolitan area decreased from 5.6 percent in January 2017 to 5.3 percent in January. / COURTESY BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE in the Providence-Warwick-Fall River metropolitan area decreased from 5.6 percent in January 2017 to 5.3 percent in January. / COURTESY BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

PROVIDENCE – The Providence-Warwick-Fall River metropolitan area saw an upswing in labor force and a downswing of individuals in the unemployment line year over year in January, according to numbers released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The metro’s labor force was 684,012 in January, 4,304 more employees working than in January 2017. Unemployment, not seasonally adjusted, declined by 1,940 people year over year to 36,288 in January, representing a 0.3 percentage-point drop in the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent, equaling Rhode Island’s January unemployment rate.

There were 578,900 employees on nonfarm payrolls within the Providence-Warwick-Fall River metro in January, a 1.3 percent increase, or 7,200 people, compared with 571,000 in January 2017.

The U.S. unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was at 4.5 percent in January, down from 5.1 percent a year ago.

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The labor force in the New Bedford metro area also increased year over year.

There were 200 more employees working in the metro in January at 85,204 compared with January 2017. The unemployment rate in the metro declined year over year 0.2 percentage points to 7 percent, or 5,964 people in January. The number of employees on nonfarm payrolls increased by 100 in the New Bedford metro year over year to 66,100.

Rhode Island’s overall workforce increased year over year by 3,340 employees to 553,971 in January, while 29,414 people were unemployed, a decline of 1,092 from 30,506 in January 2017. The state’s workforce on nonfarm payrolls went up by 1.3 percent year over year to 483,800, an increase of 6,300 employees.

In Massachusetts, there were 3.7 million employees in the labor force in January, an increase of 24,677 compared with January 2017. The unemployment rate year over year dropped from 4.5 percent to 4 percent in January, a decline of 16,305 people. There were 33,400 more employees on nonfarm payrolls in the commonwealth in January at 3.5 million compared with January 2017.

James Bessette is a PBN staff writer.