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Media Advisory

January Unemployment Rate Held Steady;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 200 from December (pdf)

March 8, 2018


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2018 was 4.5 percent, unchanged from the revised December rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point from the January 2017 rate of 4.6 percent.


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

Jan. 2018


Dec. 2017


Jan. 2017



The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January 2018, unchanged from the previous month and down seven-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 25,100, unchanged from December. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 300.

A total of 13,072 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in January 2018 *, down from 13,444 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 44.4 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 531,500, an increase of 400 from the December figure of 531,100. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 4,000 from January 2017 (527,500).

The RI labor force totaled 556,600 in January 2018, up 300 from December 2017 and up 3,700 from January 2017 (552,900). 


Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 497,700 in January, reflecting a loss of 200 jobs from the revised December estimate of 497,900. Over the year, the Rhode Island economy is up 6,100 jobs, with 5,800 of those jobs stemming from the private sector. The Government sector is up 300 jobs from a year ago.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 700 jobs in January, with a bulk of the losses occurring in the food services and drinking places subsector. Over the year, the number of jobs within the Accommodation & Food sector is down 600.

The number of jobs in the Professional & Business Services sector fell by 400 from December. Despite the January shortfall, employment in the Professional & Business Services sector is up 2,000 over the year.

Financial Activities (-300) and Government (-100) were the two remaining employment sectors to report a job decline in January. Employment in both sectors is up from January 2017, with Financial Activities being up 700 jobs and Government up 300 jobs.

A total of seven employment industry sectors reported an increase in jobs since December, led by Construction and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, increasing by 300 jobs each. Construction employment is up 600 from a year ago, while employment in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation is down 200 from a year ago.

Educational Services and Wholesale Trade were each up 200 jobs in January, while heading in opposite directions from a year ago. Education Services employment is up 300 jobs from January 2017, while Wholesale Trade employment is down 600 jobs.

Health Care & Social Assistance, Manufacturing and Other Services all added 100 jobs each in January, with all three sectors being up 1,800, 1,300 and 400 jobs, respectively, over the year.

The number of jobs in the Retail Trade, Information, Transportation & Utilities and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged from December. Among these sectors, employment in Retail Trade and Information were down 100 each from a year ago, while employment in Transportation & Utilities was up 300 from a year ago. Mining & Logging employment was unchanged from January 2017. 

MANUFACTURING: In January 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.01 per hour, down four cents from December 2017, but up sixty-one cents from January 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in January, down two and three-tenths hours over the month, but up one-tenth of an hour 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 https://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm will be releasing all states’ January labor force data and job counts on March 12, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the February 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, March 22, 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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