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Media Advisory

Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 600 from November;
December Unemployment Rate Increases to 4.4 Percent (pdf)

January 18, 2018


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2017 was 4.4 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the November rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down half of a percentage point from the December 2016 rate of 4.9 percent.


RI Unemployment Rate
US Unemployment Rate
RI Job Count (in thousands)

Dec. 2017


Nov. 2017


Dec. 2016



The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December 2017, unchanged from the previous month and down six-tenths of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —was 24,500, up 500 from the November figure of 24,000. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 2,800.

A total of 10,463 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in December 2017 *, down from 10,898 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 44.4 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 530,300, a decrease of 500 from the November figure of 530,800. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 7,000 from December 2016 (523,300).

The RI labor force totaled 554,900 in December 2017, up 100 from November 2017 and up 4,300 from December 2016 (550,600). 


Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 497,300 in December, reflecting a loss of 600 jobs from the revised November estimate of 497,900. Over the year, the Rhode Island economy is up 6,000 jobs, with 6,200 of the jobs stemming from the private sector workforce. The Government sector is down 200 jobs from a year ago.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 800 jobs in December, erasing all the 600 jobs it added in November. Over the year, the number of jobs within the Accommodation & Food sector is up 1,100.

The number of jobs in the Wholesale Trade sector fell in December 2017 by 700 from November 2017. December marks three consecutive months of declines within this sector, totaling 1,000 jobs. Wholesale trade employment remained unchanged from a year ago.

Three sectors, Construction, Retail Trade and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, each reported a loss of 200 jobs in December. Among these three sectors, Construction (+2,100) was the sole sector reporting an over-the-year gain, while employment in Retail Trade and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation fell by 600 and 500, respectively, over the year.

The Information sector lost 100 jobs in December; employment in the sector is also down 100 since December 2016

Offsetting some of the December job declines was a gain of 400 jobs reported in the Financial Activities sector. Over the year, Financial Activities employment is up by 800.

Health Care & Social Assistance employment rose by 300 in December, marking three consecutive months of job gains totaling 900 jobs, or an average gain of 300 jobs per month. Since December 2016, Health Care & Social Assistance employment is up by 800 jobs.

An increase of 300 jobs was also reported in the Professional & Business Service sector and the Other Services sector with the Other Services sector being up 700 jobs from a year ago. The Professional & Business Services sector reported a decrease of 800 jobs from last December.

Payrolls in the Manufacturing sector grew by 200 in December. The number of jobs within this sector is up 2,000 over the year.

Employment in the Educational Services sector rose for the third consecutive month, increasing by 100 in December. A total of 500 jobs were added during this three-month stretch. Over the year, employment in Educational Services is up by 500 jobs.

Employment levels in the Transportation & Warehousing, Government and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged in December.  In comparison with December 2016, the number of jobs in the Transportation & Warehousing sector are up 200, Government employment is down 200 and Mining & Logging employment is unchanged from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In December 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.14 per hour, down forty-six cents from November 2017, but up thirty-five cents from December 2016.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 42.7 hours per week in December, up two hours over the month, and up one and one-tenth hours from a year ago.


METHODOLOGY: The unemployment figures are based largely on a survey of households in Rhode Island and measure the unemployment status of people who live in the state. Unemployment rates prior to 1976 are not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today’s methods. The establishment of employment figures is derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measures the number of jobs in the state. Rhode Island labor market information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. Additional information on procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm BLS will be releasing all states’ December labor force data and job counts on January 23, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the January 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.



ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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