Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is nominating one of her staffers, Melba Depena, to the post of director of human services, and a Maryland official, Scott Jensen, to head the state Department of Labor and Training.
Raimondo said the outgoing directors of the two departments -- Sandra Powell at DHS, and Charles Fogarty at DLT -- will take on new roles in state government.
The state made an early payment to the U.S. Treasury on a loan used to cover unemployment benefits. It was the state’s final payment and the feds got it six months early.
Since March of 2009, Rhode Island borrowed nearly a billion dollars to cover unemployment benefits. The state made its final payment on that lump sum six months early, saving businesses more than $50 million next year. It will save local businesses said department of Labor and Training director Charles Fogarty.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate edged down slightly in November but still remains among the highest in the country.
Rhode Island’s jobless rate fell by two tenths of one percent in November -- from 9.2 percent to 9 percent. That’s two percent higher than the national rate and the highest in New England. Close to 50-thousand Rhode Islanders are actively looking for work. And to make matters worse, long-term unemployment benefits end December 28th because of congressional inaction.
The latest employment numbers for Rhode Island are a mixed bag.
The state’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a point in September then held in October at 9-point-2 percent. But Rhode Island has added 35-hundred jobs since July.
Sectors seeing the largest growth were Professional and Business Services and Accommodation and Food Services. Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Charles Fogarty said construction has also seen a nice bump over the past few months.
Rhode Island’s jobless rate edged up slightly in July, from 8.8 percent to 8.9 percent. It’s a source of frustration for state Labor Department officials who concede that at the current rate it will take several years for Rhode Island to get anywhere close to full employment.
Led by a sharp drop in the number of temporary jobs, Rhode Island’s jobless rate posted a one-tenth of one percent increase in July. Still, the 8.9 percent rate is 1.6 percent lower than a year ago.
In a sign that Rhode Island finally, albeit slowly, is emerging from the recession, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly in January to 9.8 percent, from 9.9 percent in December.
The good news is that January represented the third consecutive month of job growth in the state. Hiring was led by the retail and restaurant industries. The jobless rate has dropped considerably since the high of 11.9 percent in January, 2010.