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Media Advisory

Rhode Island-Based Jobs up 1,200 from January; 
February Unemployment Rate Held Steady (pdf)

March 22, 2018


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2018 was 4.5 percent, unchanged from the January rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is also unchanged from the February 2017 rate of 4.5 percent.


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

Feb. 2018


Jan. 2017


Feb. 2017



The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in February 2018, 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 25,300, up 100 from January. Over the year, the number of unemployed increased by 400.

A total of 13,959 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in February 2018 *, down from 15,087 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 47.6 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 532,000, an increase of 500 from the January figure of 531,500. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 3,900 from February 2017 (528,100).

The RI labor force totaled 557,300 in February 2018, up 700 from January 2018 and up 4,400 from February 2017 (552,900). 


In February, Rhode Island’s nonfarm payroll employment level of 498,900 was up by 1,200 jobs from the January employment level of 497,700. The number of Rhode Island based jobs are up 6,300 from February 2017.

The Professional & Business Services sector added 600 jobs in February, recovering all the 400 jobs lost in January. Over the year, employment within the Professional & Business sector is up 2,100.

The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services sector rose by 500 from January, the first job gain within this sector since October 2017. Accommodation & Food Services employment is up 400 from February 2017.

Through the addition of 400 jobs in February and 300 jobs in January, the Wholesale Trade sector has recovered all the 700 jobs that were lost in December 2017. Since February 2017, Wholesale Trade employment is down by 100.

The Financial Activities and Other Services sectors each added 200 jobs in February, with Financial Activities being up 900 jobs from a year ago and Other Services being up 400 jobs.

Employment in the Construction sector reached 19,200 in February, an increase of 100 jobs from January and an increase of 400 jobs from February 2017. Construction employment is at its highest employment level since November 2008 (19,300).

An addition of 100 jobs was also reported in the Transportation & Utilities sector. Employment in this sector is up 200 over the year.

Employment was unchanged in the Information, Retail Trade and Mining & Logging sectors. Among these sectors, employment in the Information and Retail Trade sectors is down 400 and 200, respectively, from a year ago.

The number of jobs in the Educational Services and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors are down 300 each from January. Educational Services has reported three consecutive months of job declines, but the overall job count is still up 200 from February 2017. Health Care & Social Assistance employment is up 1,600 jobs over the year.

Finally, the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Government and Manufacturing sectors all reported a loss of 100 jobs each in February. The Manufacturing and Government sectors are up 900 and 100 jobs, respectively, from a year ago, while employment in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation is down 200 from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In February 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.87 per hour, down thirteen cents from January 2018, but up twenty-seven cents from February 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.7 hours per week in February, unchanged over the month, and up one and six-tenths 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’ February labor force data and job counts on March 23, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the March 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, April 19, 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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