FILE - Retail Newport Rhode Island

Retail shopfronts and historic buildings dot Bowen's Wharf in Newport, Rhode Island in this 2013 file photo.

(The Center Square) – The last time unemployment in Rhode Island was this low Edward D. DiPrete was governor.

The state is experiencing a 2.7% unemployment rate, its lowest rate since April and May of 1988, and the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics introduced the monthly national jobs report 46 years ago.

According to a new study from WalletHub comparing unemployment rates across the country, Rhode Island sits third behind Minnesota (1.8%) and New Hampshire (2%). The District of Columbia (5.5%) has the highest; Delaware is next (4.5%).

While the unemployment rate sits at just under 3%, the change from May to June was a drop of 4.7% in the unemployment rate, according to the study. Plus, over the past year the rate has fallen 55.7% as the state continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said that even though the jobs report showed “even more job gains” it is “not necessarily good news for the economy.”

“After the report was issued, the Fed announced it supported yet another rate hike in July,” Gonzalez said. “Since the Fed raises rates due to inflation, and lower unemployment just strengthens the case the economy is overheating, we will continue to see rate hikes and a shaky economy for the time being.”

According to Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training, the number of state residents seeking employment sat at 16,500, down 1,500 from April, while the number of unemployed dropped by 17,800 over the year.

According to the release, the state gained 900 jobs in May for a total of 495,800 jobs. In the past three months, 5,500 jobs have been gained in the economy. Job growth was led by the administrative and waste services sector (500 jobs), followed by the arts, entertainment and recreation (400).

Government and retail trade sectors saw a drop of 300 jobs; 600 retail jobs have been lost since March, according to the release.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.