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Rhode Island-Based Jobs declined 400 from August;
September Unemployment Rate Remains at 3.6 Percent (pdf)

October 17, 2019



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

Sept 2019


Aug 2019


Sept 2018



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

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in September 2019, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down two-tenths 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 20,000, up 100 from August. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 1,900.  

A total of 6,132 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in September 2019*, a decrease from the 6,665 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 33.7 percent of the total unemployed. 

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 535,300, up 700 from August. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 1,200 from September 2018 (534,100). 

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 555,300 in September 2019, up 900 from August 2019, but down 700 from September 2018 (556,000). 

Rhode Island-Based Jobs 

Nonfarm payrolls in Rhode Island fell for the first time since January, as the September payroll estimate of 503,600 decreased by 400 from the revised August payroll estimate of 504,000. Before this decline, the Rhode Island economy rode seven consecutive months without reporting a job decline, adding 8,800 jobs during this span. The number of jobs in Rhode Island is up 7,200 from a year ago.  

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 900 jobs in September, stemming from large declines reported among limited-service restaurants and 'snack' establishments, establishments noted for retailing coffee, donuts and ice cream. Over the year, jobs in Accommodation & Food Services are down 700. 

Employment in Educational Services fell by 800 from August. Despite the large monthly decline, jobs in Educational Services are up 800 from September 2018. 

Jobs in the Transportation & Utilities sector declined by 500 in September, marking the sector's first job decline since October of last year. Over the year, employment in Transportation & Utilities is up 1,200. 

The number of jobs in the Construction sector fell by 200 in September, after falling by 200 jobs in August. This was the first time since March and April 2018 that the Construction sector reported back to back job declines. Construction employment is up 300 from a year ago. 

Jobs in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector fell by 200 from August, while Government jobs fell by 100. Over the year, jobs are up 400 in Government and down 400 in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation. Rhode Island September Employment

Offsetting September job losses was a gain of 1,100 jobs in the Professional & Business Services sector. The growth was fueled by gains reported in the Administrative & Waste Services sector, notably employment services establishments. Professional & Business Services employment is up 100 from September 2018. 

Payrolls in the Financial Activities sector grew by 600 in September, stemming from job growth reported among the insurance carriers subsector and real estate subsector. Jobs in Financial Activities are up a robust 1,500 from a year ago.  

In September, a gain of 300 jobs was reported in both the Retail Trade and Other Services sectors. Retail Trade employment is down 300 from last September, while Other Services employment is up 900 during this period.

The job count remained unchanged in the Health Care & Social Assistance, Wholesale Trade and Information sectors in September. Over the year, the number of jobs was up 3,600 in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector, up 900 in Wholesale Trade and 100 in Information. Manufacturing employment was also unchanged in September, but jobs were down 1,200 from last September.  

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings 

In September 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.47 per hour, down thirty-nine cents from August 2019, but up fifty-nine cents from September 2018.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in September, up one hour and three-tenths over the month, but down one hour and three-tenths 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’ September labor force data and job counts on October 18, 2019. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the October 2019 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 14, 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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