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Rhode Island Unemployment Benefits to Increase

Posted on June 23, 2009

Good news is around the corner for those without a job in Rhode Island.

The maximum amount of money that the State of Rhode Island allows people to collect in unemployment benefits each week is about to increase, according to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.

It was recently announced that the maximum amount for someone without dependents will increase by $18 per week, or 3.4 percent, from $528 to $546. The maximum amount for someone with five or more dependents will increase by $22 per week, or 3.3 percent, from $660 to $682.

The new maximum amounts will apply to people who lose their jobs and qualify for unemployment benefits on or after July 1. Anyone who is currently collecting benefits will continue to receive the amount calculate under the current system. The RIDLT automatically increases the maximum benefit amount based on raises in average weekly wages.

As of the week ending June 6, about 33,800 people were collecting some type of unemployment benefits through the RIDLT. That’s not surprising, given that the state currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate increased from 11.1 percent to 12.1 percent during May, which is considerably higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. The state hasn’t seen a decrease in its unemployment rate since January 2007, when the unemployment rate went from 4.9 percent to 4.8 percent.

Rhode Island continued to lose jobs during May, even though some other New England states posted job gains. The state had a total non-farm employment of 463,500 workers during May, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 464,600 workers during April and a 4.3 percent decrease from last year.

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