- Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.3 percent, its lowest in 16 years.

The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday the jobless rate for March dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from the February rate, to its lowest since March 2001.

The state also spent its second month below the national unemployment rate. February had marked the first time since May 2005 that Rhode Island’s rate was below the national rate.

The national rate was 4.5 percent in March, down two-tenths of a percentage point from February.

The state also lost 700 jobs in March, ending two consecutive months of job gains.

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