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Media Advisory

Rhode Island-Based Jobs up 1,200 from April; May Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.4 Percent (pdf)

June 14, 2018


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2018 was 4.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the April rate of 4.5 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is unchanged from the May 2017 rate of 4.4 percent.


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

May 2018


Apr. 2017


May 2017



The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in May 2018, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down half of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —was 24,800, down 400 from April. Over the year, the number of unemployed increased by 600.

A total of 7,374 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in May 2018 *, down from 8,216 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 34.4 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 535,200, an increase of 1,500 from the April figure of 533,700. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 5,900 from May 2017 (529,300).

The RI labor force totaled 560,000 in May 2018, up 1,200 from April 2018 and up 6,500 from May 2017 (553,500).


Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 500,300 an increase of 1,200 jobs from the revised April estimate of 499,100. The number of Rhode Island-based jobs are up 7,500 from May 2017.  This is the first time in the state’s history where the number of jobs exceeded a half million.

Retail Trade continued its upward trend, adding 800 jobs in May. Retail Trade has added employment for four consecutive months totaling 1,600 jobs. Over the year, the number of jobs in the Retail Trade sector is up 900.

Employment in the Construction sector rose by 600 in May, ending two consecutive months of job declines. The number of jobs within this sector is up 900 from May 2017.

The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services sector is up 300 in May and up 600 from May 2017.

The Health Care & Social Assistance and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors each added 200 jobs in May. Employment in Health Care & Social Assistance is up 1,900 from a year ago, while Arts, Entertainment & Recreation employment is up 200 from a year ago.

Lastly, an increase of 100 jobs each was reported in the Transportation & Utilities and Government sectors. Employment in both sectors is up 300 and 100, respectively, over the year.

Employment in the Educational Services sector continued its downward trend, shedding 600 jobs in May. This sector has reported job losses in four of the five months of 2018. Overall, the number of jobs is down 1,400 from May 2017.

Financial Activities sector employment fell by 200 in May, however, jobs are up 500 from a year ago.

Finally, the Manufacturing, Other Services and Wholesale Trade sectors all reported a loss of 100 jobs in May. The number of jobs in Manufacturing and Other Services is up 1,000 and 800, respectively, over the year, while being down by 400 in Wholesale Trade.

Employment in the Professional & Business Services sector remained unchanged over the month, but up 2,400 over the year, while Information employment remained unchanged over the month but fell 300 from a year ago. Mining & Logging employment remained unchanged over the month and unchanged over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In May 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.31 per hour, up twenty-eight cents from April 2018, and up forty cents from May 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.8 hours per week in May, down eight-tenths of an hour over the month, but up one and seven-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’ April labor force data and job counts on May 18, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the May 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, June 14, 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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