Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remained flat in June at 8.9 percent. Progress made in reducing the jobless rate in the first quarter of the year seems to have stalled.
The news was great in the first quarter of the year. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent in January to 9.4 percent in February, to 9.1 percent in March. In April, it fell to 8.8 percent. That’s about where it has remained ever since.
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training spokeswoman Laura Hart said the reasons for the apparent stall are unclear. “You hear different things. You hear questions about employer confidence in terms of investing, the money and the time to hire people, different things,” said Hart. “There’s a question about whether the sequester is impacting this indirectly because there’s less available money on the street for some folks. But we don’t have a really good, one pat answer to give you. We don’t know.”
The bright spot in the latest unemployment report is in professional and business services, which added 1,700 jobs in June. It was the strongest job sector in June and has been growing steadily for the past 40 months.
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