Rhode Island unemployment grows slightly to 5.5 percent

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate grew slightly in June to 5.5 percent, the highest level of joblessness so far this year.

Numbers released on Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training show that unemployment rose by one-tenth of a percentage point after holding steady for six consecutive months.

The national unemployment rate also went up in June, to 4.9 percent.

About 400 more people were unemployed in the state, even as the number of jobs grew by 1,700.

The retail trade created the largest number of new jobs, followed by the health industry, manufacturing and professional sectors. Information jobs also increased because of the return of Verizon workers from a strike that began in mid-April and continued through May.

Construction jobs continued to decline.

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