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Rhode Island Unemployment Remains Flat

Posted on March 8, 2010

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in January, holding steady at December’s revised 12.7 percent, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Friday in its monthly jobs report.The state gained 800 jobs while the number of employed residents jumped by 2,000 in January, but those gains were offset by a larger number of unemployed Rhode Islanders, which rose in January to 73,300, up 500 from the revised December statistics, the DLT said.

By comparison, the national jobless rate was at 9.7 percent in January and February, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. Payrolls fell another 36,000 last month after a revised 26,000 decrease in January.


According to Providence Business Journal, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a point in January to 9.5 percent from December’s revised figure of 9.3 percent. The January figures’ compilation in Washington was delayed by last month’s snowstorms, and many states had not reported at press time.

The first month of 2010 offered some encouraging signs.

January’s flat 12.7 percent unemployment rate marked the first time in more than a year Rhode Island did not experience a monthly increase, according to revised job figures for 2009 DLT released Friday.

The Ocean State’s resident employment – the number of Rhode Islanders who hold jobs anywhere in the country – increased to 503,300 in January, 2,000 more than revised December figures.

And non-farm payrolls statewide grew to 452,700 in January, up 800 from a month earlier.

Still, average weekly claims for unemployment benefits surged to 46,083 in January, up 11.2 percent – or 4,653 – from December’s average.

Rhode Island’s largest job gains in January were in accommodation and food services, which picked up 1,000 seasonal jobs, and professional and business services, which added 700 jobs.

Gains were also reported in “other services” (300), manufacturing (100) and financial activities (100).

Meanwhile, four sectors lost jobs: wholesale trade (500), construction (400), transportation and utilities (300), and retail trade (200).

Employment was unchanged in health care and social services; educational services; government; information; natural resources and mining; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

Manufacturing-production workers in Rhode Island earned an average hourly wage of $14.31 in January, down 10 cents from December but up 32 cents from a year earlier.

The state’s average manufacturing work week in January was 38.2 hours, down 0.2 hours from December but up 0.7 hours from a year ago, DLT said

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