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RI unemployment rate falls to 9.1 percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island's unemployment rate has fallen again — to its lowest level since November 2008 — although the labor force shrunk.

The state Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday that the jobless rate in March was 9.1 percent, down from 9.4 percent in February.

The size of the labor force was down 2,400, to 558,900. The number of employed residents was also down 500, to 507,800.

But the number of Rhode Island jobs was up 1,500 from February, to 467,000. The professional and business services sector added 1,600 jobs. That and other gains were offset by a loss of 500 jobs in the health care and social assistance sector.

The U.S. jobless rate in March was 7.6 percent.

Rhode Island's unemployment rate a year ago was 10.6 percent.