PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Rhode Island's unemployment rate stayed at 10.4% in November as more state residents said they were working even as the number of jobs located inside the state declined, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday.
Rhode Island's 10.4% jobless rate in November was still significantly higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.7% and the Massachusetts unemployment rate of 6.6%. Unemployment peaked in Rhode Island at 11.9% in January 2010, according to the department.
The number of employed Rhode Islanders was 506,200 in November, up by 1,500 from the previous month and by 6,600 from a year earlier. November was the fourth straight month that Rhode Islanders' employment grew as the number working reached the highest level since the depths of the recession, in March 2009.
The number of unemployed Rhode Islanders totaled 58,600 in November, down by 100 from October and down by 4,100 from a year earlier. The labor force, which counts both employed and unemployed workers, grew to 564,000, its highest level since February 2011 - though below the December 2006 peak of 577,158.
While economists caution not to read too much into a single month's employment figures, policymakers and residents pay close attention to the numbers as a sign of the economy's broader health.
A separate survey of employers showed 457,100 jobs on Rhode Island nonfarm payrolls in January. That's down from a peak job count of 496,400 in December 2006, and a decrease of 200 jobs from October. Government offices in the state cut 600 jobs while private-sector companies added 400.
State officials say more accurate tax data that will eventually be used to revise the employment numbers signal stronger job growth in Rhode Island than the montly surveys are showing, with an additional 5,700 jobs recorded on Rhode Island payrolls as of June.
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