In a sign of good news for Rhode Island’s struggling economy, the state Department of Labor and Training reports that the state unemployment rate dropped in March to 9.1 percent, from 9.4 percent in February. The March rate represents the lowest since November 2008.
Rhode Island jobs increased by 1,500 in March, but the state’s workforce still has a long way to go before it reaches the pre-recession level of December, 2006.
In the past year the unemployment rate in the Ocean State has declined by 1.5 percentage points, the biggest drop since the mid 1980s.
DLT spokeswoman Laura Hart says that job growth has gained momentum in the past two months but the state is still not producing many jobs. ``It has been very slow going,’’ said Hart. ``We are not seeing manor growth in the labor force.’’
Rhode Island’s recovery from the deep recession has been much slower than neighboring Massachusetts, where the unemployment rate is 6.4 percent. The national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent.
A year ago, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 10.6 percent and the national rate was 8.2 percent.