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RI tied with California for highest jobless rate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- New federal statistics show Rhode Island tied with California with a national-worst 9.8 percent unemployment rate in January.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data for all 50 states on Monday.

That was a drop of one-tenth of a percentage point for Rhode Island from December. The state's rate has been on a steady decline, and labor officials say the economy is moving in the right direction.

The federal Labor Department says unemployment rates increased in 25 states in January. They fell in only 8 states and were unchanged in 17.

Rhode Island's chronically high jobless rate has been the highest or among the highest nationally in recent years.