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Rhode Island-Based Jobs rose 1,300 from June;
July Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.5 Percent (pdf)

August 15, 2019



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

Jul 2019


Jun 2019


Jul 2018



CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from the July 2018 rate of 3.9 percent.  

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in July 2019, unchanged from the previous month and down two-tenths of a percentage point over the year.   

"BLS estimates RI-based jobs reached 503,900 last month - a record high for our state, and our unemployment rate fell below the U.S. rate for the second consecutive month," said Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen. "We need to continue investing in our greatest asset: Rhode Islanders to continue building a resilient economy." 

A total of 9,481 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in July 2019,* a decrease from the 9,779 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 45.3 percent of the total unemployed. 

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 533,500, up 1,200 from June. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was down 300 from July 2018 (533,800). 

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 553,100 in July 2019, up 1,000 from June 2019, but down 2,500 from July 2018 (555,600).   

Rhode Island-Based Jobs 

Nonfarm payrolls in Rhode Island rose to 503,900 in July, an increase of 1,300 jobs from the June revised payroll estimate of 502,600. The Rhode Island economy has not reported a monthly job decline since January. The number of jobs in the Ocean State is up 6,200 since the start of the year and up 7,100 from July 2018.    

The Health Care & Social Assistance sector added 1,200 jobs in July, mainly due to an increase reported within the ambulatory health care services subsector. 

Employment in Accommodation & Food Services rose by 500 over the month, marking five consecutive months of job gains totaling 2,100 jobs. Accommodation & Food Services employment has increased by 700 from July 2018.  

The workforce in the Transportation & Utilities sector continues to grow, adding 400 jobs in July. The last monthly job decline in Transportation & Utilities was reported in October 2018. Jobs in Transportation & Utilities are up 1,400 from a year ago.  

The Construction sector, which hasn't reported a job decline since January, added 200 jobs in July. The sector has added 700 jobs during this six-month period. Over the year, Construction employment is up 1,000.  

Employment in both Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Professional & Business Services is also up 200 from June, but the number of jobs is down 100 and 1,400, respectively, from July 2018.   

The Financial Activities and Government sectors each added 100 jobs in July. Over the year, Financial Activities employment is up 900, while Government employment is up 700.  

Offsetting the July job gains was a loss of 800 jobs reported in the Retail Trade sector, marking the first job decline since February. Retail Trade employment is down 1,000 from a year ago.  

Educational Services lost 300 job in July, but the sector has 900 more jobs than July 2018. 

A loss of 200 jobs was reported in both the Wholesale Trade and Other Services sectors. A year-over-year gain of 800 jobs was reported in Wholesale Trade, while a year-over-year gain of 500 jobs was noted in Other Services. 

Lastly, the Manufacturing sector lost 100 jobs from June and is down 1,200 jobs from July 2018.  

The number of jobs in July remained unchanged in the Information and Mining & Logging sectors. The number of jobs in Information is up 300 over the year, while Mining & Logging employment is unchanged.  

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings 

In July 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $20.14 per hour, up twenty-nine cents from June 2019, and up sixty-eight cents from July 2018.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.4 hours per week in July, unchanged over the month, and down two and three-tenths hours 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 (BLS) 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’ July labor force data and job counts on August 16, 2019. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the August 2019 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 19, 2019.


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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