RI's 2013 unemployment rate 2nd worst in US


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's average unemployment rate of 9.5 percent was the second worst in the country last year, according to federal statistics released Friday.

The state's rate fell behind only Nevada's, which was 9.8 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for all 50 states.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training released new unemployment data this week that revised the state's average rate for last year upward by four-tenths of a percentage point. It also revised upward the December rate to 9.3 percent, from 9.1 percent. The previously announced rate already had been the worst in the U.S.

The department's director, Charlie Fogarty, called the economic recovery in Rhode Island "frustratingly slow."

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, said through a spokeswoman Friday that the unemployment rate remains too high but that the silver lining is the number of jobs increased during the year. Revised data show jobs were up 5,400 over the year — more than initially reported — which is the highest annual average gain since 2000, Faye Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman added that Chafee is "heartened" that the unemployment rate had declined from 11.4 percent when he took office in January 2011.

The size of the labor force was 567,838 when Chafee became governor, compared with 550,107 in December, according to state statistics.

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