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Media Advisory

October Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.8 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs up 500 from September (pdf)

November 15, 2018


Cranston, RI - The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment ratefor October 2018 was 3.8 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the September rate of 3.9 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down seven-tenths of a percentage point from the October 2017 rate of 4.5 percent.


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

Oct. 2018


Sept. 2018


Oct. 2017



The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in October 2018, unchanged from the previous month and down four-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 21,300; down 800 from September. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 3,800.

A total of 6,434 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in October 2018 *, down from 6,709 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 37.4 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 539,800, unchanged from September. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 8,500 from October 2017 (531,300).

The RI labor force totaled 561,200 in October 2018, down 700 from September 2018 but up 4,900 from October 2017 (556,300). 




In October, the number of Rhode Island-based jobs totaled 503,100, an increase of 500 jobs from the revised September job count of 502,600. Rhode Island has added 1,000 jobs over the past two months and has 6,300 more nonfarm jobs than a year ago.

The Other Services and Retail Trade sectors added 500 and 400 jobs, respectively, in October. The employment level in Other Services now stands at 24,600, an all-time high. Over the year, Other Services employment is up 1,500. The Retail Trade sector has added 900 jobs over the past three months and is up 500 jobs from October 2017.

Employment in the Construction sector increased by 300 from September, boosting its employment level to 19,400, the highest employment level since October 2008 (19,700). Over the year, Construction sector employment is up 1,100.

The Accommodation & Food Services and Wholesale Trade sectors each added 200 jobs in October. The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services sector is up 1,400 from a year ago, while Wholesale Trade jobs are down 300 from a year ago.

The number of jobs in both the Information and Government sectors grew by 100 in October. Information employment is up 100 from October 2017, while Government employment is down 300 from October 2017. 

After posting job gains of 500 and 400 in August and September, respectively, the Professional & Business Services sector reported a loss of 600 jobs in October. The number of jobs in Professional & Business Services is up 300 from a year ago.

Employment in the Manufacturing sector fell by 300 in October, impacted by the closure of a packaging facility in Pawtucket which employed nearly 200 workers. Manufacturing employment is up 800 over the year.

Smaller job losses in October were noted in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Health Care & Social Assistance       (-100) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) sectors. The Transportation & Utilities sector was impacted by a school bus strike in Providence. The number of jobs in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector is up 500 from a year ago, while the number of jobs in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) is down from a year ago.

Finally, employment in the Financial Activities, Mining & Logging and Educational Services sectors remained unchanged in October. Employment in both the Financial Activities and Mining & Logging remained unchanged from October 2017, while Educational Services employment is up 1,000 from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In October 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.86 per hour, down two cents from September 2018, and down thirty-four cents from October 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.6 hours per week in October, down nine-tenths of an hour over the month and down nine-tenths of an hour from a year ago.



*Refers to the number of new and reopened claims filed by UI beneficiaries and claims filed by those already collecting UI in the week that includes the 12th of the month.

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’ October labor force data and job counts on November 16, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the November 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, December 20, 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 website at www.dlt.ri.gov


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