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Jobs in Rhode Island Could Get Help From Stimulus

If President Barack Obama’s proposed federal economic stimulus plan passes, it could mean good news for jobs in Rhode Island.

The $819 billion economic recovery bill - which passed in the House of Representatives but still has to pass in the Senate - would create between 3 million and 4 million new jobs nationwide by the end of next year, according to an article by The Providence Journal.

Of those jobs, 13,000 would be in Rhode Island. The state’s transportation department could see a significant amount of those employees, as many as 6,000, if the stimulus helps get public works projects underway.

Any help in creating jobs will be welcome in Rhode Island. The state currently has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation. During December 2008, the number of unemployed workers in the state increased by 3,700, making the unemployment rate increase from 9.3 percent to 10 percent, second only to Michigan. Rhode Island had 56,800 unemployed residents by the end of 2008.

During December, Rhode Island saw a total non-farm employment of 468,800 workers, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 471,800 workers during November and a 4.5 percent decrease from last year.

The industries in the state that saw an over-the-year decrease in jobs include:

  • natural resources and mining by 33.3 percent
  • construction by 11.5 percent
  • manufacturing by 7.7 percent
  • trade, transportation and utilities by 7.5 percent
  • information by 1.9 percent
  • financial activities by 5.5 percent
  • professional and business services by 6.7 percent
  • leisure and hospitality by 2.7 percent
  • government by 3.3 percent

The only industry that saw an over-the-year increase in jobs was education and health services. That industry employed 100,900 workers during December, up from 100,300 workers during November and a 1.2 percent increase from last year.