RI unemployment drops, though still higher than national rate

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FILE – In this Dec. 10, 2020, file photo, a “Now Hiring” sign hangs on the front wall of a Harbor Freight Tools store in Manchester, N.H. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island labor department says the unemployment rate dropped to 7.1% in March.

That is down 0.2 percentage points from February.

The U.S. unemployment rate in March was 6%. Some 2,900 people entered the workforce in Rhode Island in March. But the state has 35,100 fewer jobs than in the same period last year at the very beginning of the pandemic.

Accommodations and food services saw the biggest job losses since March 2020, with 8,900 fewer jobs in those sectors.

Health care and social assistance followed with 6,000 fewer jobs.

There were 1,000 fewer unemployed Rhode Islanders in March than in February.

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