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Media Advisory

November Unemployment Rate of 3.8 Percent Unchanged from October;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 900 from October (pdf)

December 20, 2018


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


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

Nov. 2018


Oct. 2018


Nov. 2017



The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November 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; also unchanged from October. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 3,800.

A total of 7,136 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in November 2018 *, a slight decrease from the 7,150 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 34.3 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 539,700, down 200 from October. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 8,500 from November 2017 (531,200).

The RI labor force totaled 561,000 in November 2018, down 200 from October 2018 but up 4,700 from November 2017 (556,300). 


In November, the number of Rhode Island-based jobs totaled 502,700, a decrease of 900 jobs from the revised October job count of 503,600. Despite the November decline, Rhode Island has added 600 jobs over the past three months and has 5,100 more nonfarm jobs than a year ago.

The Construction sector reported a loss of 700 jobs in November, stemming from losses reported among specialty trade contractors. The number of Construction jobs remained unchanged from November 2017.

Employment in both the Other Services and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors fell by 600 in November. The Other Services sector relinquished all the 600 jobs it added in October, but still has 1,000 more jobs than reported in November 2017. The Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector has lost jobs for four consecutive months, totaling 1,200 jobs and is down 600 jobs from a year ago.

Smaller jobs losses from October were noted in the Accommodation & Food Services (-300), Manufacturing (-200) and Educational Services (-100) sectors. Over the year, the number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services (+1,100), and Educational Services (+500) are up, while Manufacturing employment remained even.

Several sectors did add jobs in November, led by the Professional & Business Services and Retail Trade sectors, each adding 400 jobs. The Retail Trade sector has not reported a job loss since July and has added 1,500 jobs over the last four months. Employment in both sectors is up 1,300 from a year ago.

Employment in Health Care & Social Assistance is up by 300 from October and is up 700 from November 2017.

The Financial Activities and Wholesale Trade sectors each added 200 jobs in November. The number of jobs in Financial Activities is up 400 over the year, while jobs in Wholesale Trade are down 200 over the year.

Lastly, Government employment rose by 100 from October as jobs gains were reported within the federal government branch. Government employment is down 200 from a year ago.

Employment in the Information, Mining & Logging and Transportation & Utilities sectors remained unchanged in November. Employment in both Information and Mining & Logging remained unchanged from November 2017, while Transportation & Utilities employment is down 200 from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In November 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.79 per hour, down seven cents from October 2018, and down seventy-five cents from November 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.7 hours per week in November, up an hour and one-tenth over the month and 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 www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm BLS will be releasing all states’ November labor force data and job counts on December 21, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the December 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, January 17, 2019, 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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