Unemployment Drops to 11.0%

Released at midnight by the RI Department of Labor and Training:

Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.0 Percent

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2011 was 11.0 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the February rate of 11.2 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point over the month, dropping to 8.8 percent.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 1,100 over the February figures, falling to 63,000 in March. This represents the 12th consecutive over-the-month decrease in the number of unemployed RI residents, and the lowest count since July 2009. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 4,800.

Highlights:
• The March 2011 unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from February.
• The number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 1,100 over the month, while the number of employed RI residents decreased by 900.
• RI-based jobs increased by 1,000 over the month, marking two consecutive months of job gains.

Due to numerous eligibility requirements, the number of unemployed RI residents differs from the number of RI Unemployment Insurance recipients. The average weekly claim load for RI Unemployment Insurance benefits in March was 39,341, down 1,633 (-4.0%) from the February average of 40,975 and down 6,118 (-13.5%) from the March 2010 average of 46,405.
The number of employed RI residents decreased 900 over the February figures, totaling 508,900 in March. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 1,400, the 12th consecutive over-the-year increase.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 571,900 in March 2011, a decrease of 1,900 from February 2011 figures and down 3,400 from March 2010 figures. The over-the-month decreases in the numbers of employed and unemployed residents caused the March labor force to drop to its lowest level since December 2009.