RI unemployment rate unchanged at 5.4 percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was unchanged in February, holding steady at 5.4 percent.

Numbers released on Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training show the state’s jobless rate is five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 4.9 percent. The national rate also did not change from January to February.

The state unemployment rate has fallen one percentage point since February 2015, when it was 6.4 percent.

Rhode Island had one of the highest unemployment rates for years during the recession and is still struggling to recover the jobs it lost.

The number of unemployed residents rose by 100 from January, while the number of Rhode Island-based jobs rose by 300.

Governor Gina Raimondo issued the following statement Thursday on the latest unemployment numbers:

“We have made progress. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since August 2007 and we added 300 jobs since last month. But there is much more work to do – we need the economy to create more jobs, and we need the economy to create more high-paying jobs.

That’s why I am relentlessly focused on making it cheaper and easier to do business here, improving our schools and worker training initiatives, and making our economy more innovative so we get more 21st century companies to invest in Rhode Island.”

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