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Rhode Island-Based Jobs rose 800 from July;
August Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.6 Percent (pdf)

September 19, 2019



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

Aug 2019


Jul 2019


Aug 2018



CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.6 percent, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down three-tenths of a percentage point from the August 2018 rate of 3.9 percent.

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

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents - those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment - was 19,800, up 200 from July. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,000.  

A total of 9,104 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in August 2019,* a decrease from the 9,574 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 42.1 percent of the total unemployed. 

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 534,600, up 1,100 from July. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 600 from August 2018 (534,000). 

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 554,400 in August 2019, up 1,300 from July 2019, but down 1,300 from August 2018 (555,700). 

Rhode Island-Based Jobs 

Nonfarm payrolls in Rhode Island rose to 504,200 in August, an increase of 800 jobs from the revised July payroll estimate of 503,400. The Rhode Island economy has not reported a monthly job decline since January and job growth has averaged 800 per month thus far this year. The number of jobs in the Ocean State is up 6,500 since the start of the year and up 7,400 from August 2018.    

The Educational Services and Professional & Business Services sectors each added 400 jobs in August, the largest monthly job gain among all industry sectors. Employment in Educational Services is up 1,500 from a year ago, while Professional & Business Services is down 1,000 jobs from August 2018. 

Employment in Financial Activities grew by 300 from July, ending two consecutive months of job declines. Over the year, the number of jobs in the Financial Activities sector is up 1,000. 

Jobs in the Retail Trade sector rose by 200 in August but are down 700 from a year ago. The Health Care & Social Assistance and Transportation & Utilities sectors each added 100 jobs in August, and are up 3,700 and 1,700, respectively, from August 2018.  

The Construction sector reported its first monthly job loss since January, shedding 200 jobs in August. The employment level within this sector stands at 19,800. The Construction sector has added 700 jobs over the year. 

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 200 jobs in August, marking the sector's first monthly job loss since February. The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services sector is up 200 from a year ago. 

The Manufacturing, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Wholesale Trade sectors each lost 100 jobs over the month. The number of jobs in the Manufacturing (-1,300) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-400) sectors are down over the year, while the number of jobs within Wholesale Trade is up 700 from August 2018.  

The August job count remained unchanged in the Government, Other Services, Information and Mining & Logging sectors. The number of jobs in the Information and Mining & Logging sectors is unchanged from a year ago, while jobs are up 900 in the Government sector and 400 in the Other Services sector.   

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings 

In August 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.87 per hour, down twenty-six cents from July 2019, but up forty-six cents from August 2018.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.9 hours per week in August, down five-tenths of an hour over the month, and down three 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’ August labor force data and job counts on September 20, 2019. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the September 2019 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 17, 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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