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Rhode Island unemployment rate one of the worst in NE

Posted on May 30, 2011

The Rhode Island unemployment rate continues to plague New England, according to recent BLS stats.

In March, four New England states posted jobless rates that were significantly different from that of the United States. New Hampshire (5.2 percent), Vermont (5.4 percent), and Maine (7.6 percent) recorded lower-than-average unemployment rates and were among 22 states in the country to do so. New Hampshire and Vermont reported the fourth and fifth-lowest jobless rates nationwide. In contrast, Rhode Island (11.0 percent) had the highest jobless rate among the New England states and the fourth-highest jobless rate in the nation. Rhode Island was among 10 states nationwide that had unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average. The District of Columbia and the 18 remaining states had unemployment rates not appreciably different from that for the nation.

In March, New Hampshire was the only New England state and one of nine states nationwide to experience a statistically significant unemployment rate change from February (-0.2 percentage point). The remaining 5 New England states were among 41 states and the District of Columbia that registered jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Over the year, two New England states recorded statistically significant changes in their unemployment rates. Both New Hampshire and Vermont posted measurable over-the-year rate decreases (-1.2 percentage points, each) and were among 18 states to do so. The remaining 4 New England states were among 32 states and the District of Columbia that registered jobless rates not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.

The New England unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Denis M. McSweeney noted that the over-the-year change in New England’s unemployment rate was not statistically significant. The national jobless rate, at 8.8 percent in March, was little changed from February, but 0.9 percentage point lower than a year earlier. (See chart 1.)

New England is one of nine geographic divisions nationwide. Among the nine divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest unemployment rate, 11.3 percent in March. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 6.9 percent. The East North Central and South Atlantic were the only divisions with statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate changes (-0.2 percentage point each). Over the year, four divisions posted significant rate changes, all of which were decreases: the East North Central (-2.1 percentage points), the Middle Atlantic (-0.8 point), South Atlantic (-0.6 point), and West North Central (-0.5 point).

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