Rhode Island unemployment holds steady at 5.6 percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Preliminary figures show Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held steady in September at 5.6 percent.

The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday the jobless rate in September was unchanged from August.

The rate is also the same as it was in September 2015.

The number of residents who were unemployed increased slightly to 31,100 in September. The state’s labor force totaled 557,400, up 500 workers from August.

The department says the state lost 900 jobs in September, but gained 5,300 from a year earlier.

The U.S. unemployment rate in September was 5 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from August.

Preliminary estimates show Massachusetts gained more than 5,000 jobs in September while the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent — the lowest it’s been since June 2001.

The state Office of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that 63,800 jobs had been created since the beginning of this year.

The 3.6 percent unemployment rate was down from 3.9 percent in August. The rate was 4.8 percent a year ago and state officials say there were 43,000 fewer unemployed residents last month than in September 2015.

The largest job gains last months were in the education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics did revise downward its estimate of employment growth in August, saying Massachusetts gained 3,600 jobs instead of the previously reported 5,900 jobs.