PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held steady at 4 percent in January, but the number of jobs in the state fell by 1,700.
The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday that the rate was unchanged from the revised December rate. The state’s unemployment rate is the same as the national rate. It’s four-tenths of a percentage point lower than a year ago.
The number of jobs based in Rhode Island dropped to 496,000, a decrease of 1,700 jobs from the revised December estimate, the data showed. Most of the jobs were lost in the professional and business services sector, which includes landscaping companies that reported large job declines.
Rhode Island still has 2,400 more jobs than it did a year ago.
The state also said Thursday that it recently completed its annual revision of the number of jobs based in Rhode Island, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
State labor officials previously said that the number of jobs based in Rhode Island exceeded 500,000 for the first time in the state’s history in May. But the revision lowered the job count in May and in subsequent months. The number of jobs based in Rhode Island never exceeded 500,000, according to the new data. The new high point is in December, with 497,700 jobs.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo often highlighted the state’s improving economy when she successfully campaigned for re-election last year.
“Jobs numbers are up, unemployment is down, wages have grown, and dozens of companies have moved or expanded here,” Block said in a statement.
Len Lardaro, an economics professor at the University of Rhode Island, said the state’s economic performance has been “mediocre” for the last few years and it’s clear that Rhode Island’s economy began to slow after May.