RI Unemployment Rate Remains At 8.9 Percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) â¿¿ The unemployment rate in Rhode Island stayed the same last month and the labor force shrunk, according to state data released Thursday.

The state Department of Labor and Training reported the jobless rate in June remained at 8.9 percent for the second straight month. It was 10.6 percent a year ago. The U.S. jobless rate last month was 7.6 percent.

The size of the labor force was down 400, to 558,500, from May. That's down 1,400 from a year ago, partly because people ages 16 to 24 stopped looking for work, citing discouragement, officials said.

The number of employed also dropped 300, to 509,000. But that's 8,300 more than a year ago.

The state created 400 jobs during the month, compared with revised May estimates. Department spokeswoman Laura Hart called the professional and business services sector a "bright spot." It gained 1,700 jobs in June, and Hart said it was up 3,500 jobs over the year.

The educational services and construction sectors in June also saw gains of 500 and 400, respectively. Accommodation and food services lost 1,800 jobs, which the report said could have been related to bad weather.

Rhode Island's unemployment rate has persistently been among the nation's highest.
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