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RI unemployment rate now 6th highest in US

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island's 8.8 percent unemployment rate is the sixth-highest in the country.

The U.S. Department of Labor released jobless rates for all 50 states on Friday, and Rhode Island's was number six. Nevada has the highest rate, 9.6 percent. Illinois was next with 9.3 percent, followed by Mississippi, with 9.1 percent.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said Thursday the state's rate fell to 8.8 percent in April, to its lowest level since October 2008.

That was a welcome drop, but the size of the labor force in Rhode Island dropped for the fourth consecutive month, in part because some workers stopped seeking employment.

State Labor and Training Director Charlie Fogarty says the state is making progress but that the economy is still not "firing on all cylinders."