Rhode Island’s unemployment rate increases to 4.4 percent

Local News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent in December.

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training said Thursday that the jobless rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point from the November rate of 4.3 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate held steady from November to December at 4.1 percent.

Rhode Island’s rate of unemployed was down half a percentage point from a year earlier, when it was 4.9 percent.

The department says the state lost 600 jobs in December, but has 6,000 more jobs than a year ago.

Many lost jobs were in the accommodation and food services sector and wholesale trade.

“This report shows that we are in the third inning of our economic comeback,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday in a statement. “In the last 12 months, Rhode Island has added 2,000 jobs in manufacturing and 2,100 jobs in construction. Rhode Island set new records for job count eight times last year, but we need to keep going with our commitment to job training to ensure that every Rhode Islander can keep up and get ahead.”

The Republican Governors Association criticized Raimondo over the numbers, using the same baseball analogy. “If that’s true, these two consecutive months of job losses show that her fourth inning is off to a very poor start,” the group’s spokesman said.

The state’s labor force totaled 554,900 in December, which is up 100 from November and up 4,300 from December 2016.

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