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DLT: RI unemployment remains high; recreation, education industries hit the hardest

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has only risen slightly over the past month and remains significantly higher compared to this time last year.

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) reported Thursday that in November, the state’s unemployment rate was 7.3%.

November’s unemployment rate is up only two-tenths of a percent from October’s 7.1%, but is significantly higher than the 3.5% unemployment rate reported from the same time frame last year.

For the first time since April, the DLT reports that November marks “the first monthly job decline.”

Certain industries, according to the DLT are being hit the hardest in Rhode Island: education services, the arts, entertainment and recreation. All of these industries, the DLT said, have each dropped 700 jobs within the past month.

Other industries, such as healthcare and social assistance, are seeing an uptick in jobs, with 400 added throughout November.

Since the pandemic began in March, the DLT said the state has regained more than 57,000 of jobs that were initially lost, but overall, Rhode Island-based jobs are down by 37,700.

The state’s retail industry has recovered nearly 80% of jobs lost, while the construction, professional and business services industry has recovered at least half.

Over the year, the number of unemployed Rhode Islanders has gone up by nearly 20,000 residents, and the recent statewide pause is believed to be contributing to an uptick in new unemployment claims.

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