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Rhode Island-Based Jobs Increased 1,000 from October;
November Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.5 Percent (pdf)

December 19, 2019



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

Nov 2019


Oct 2019


Nov 2018



CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 3.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from October, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down half of a percentage point from the November 2018 rate of 4.0 percent.   

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in November 2019, down one-tenth 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 19,600, down 300 from October. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,600.  

A total of 6,636 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in November 2019[1]*, an increase of 204 from the 6,434 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 36.9 percent of the total unemployed. 

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 538,000, up 1,500 from October. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 3,900 from November 2018 (534,100). 

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 557,600 in November 2019, up 1,300 from October 2019 and up 1,400 from November 2018 (556,200).   

Rhode Island-Based Jobs  

Rhode Island's nonfarm job count in November stood at 506,700, an increase of 1,000 jobs from the revised October count of 505,700. Through November, the Ocean State has added 9,000 jobs in 2019, an average gain of 800 jobs per month. Over the year, Rhode Island-based jobs are up 10,700.

Employment in the Retail Trade sector surged by 1,100 jobs in November, led by strong growth reported in several industry groups including department stores, office supply stores, general merchandise stores and electronic shopping retailers. Retail Trade employment is down 200 from a year ago. 

The number of jobs in the Educational Services sector increased by 400 in November and by 800 over the last 12 months.

The Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Wholesale Trade sectors each added 300 jobs in November. Payrolls in these sectors are up 1,300 and 1,000, respectively, from November 2018.

Manufacturing employment and Information employment rose by 200 in November. Over the year, the number of Manufacturing jobs is down 500, while the number of Information jobs are up 200. 

The Transportation & Utilities sector added 100 jobs in November and is up 1,700 jobs from a year ago. In addition, the Accommodation & Food Services added 100 jobs in November and is up 1,600 from November 2018.

Offsetting some of the November job gains was a loss of 600 jobs reported in the Professional & Businesses Services sector. All the job losses stem from the Administrative & Waste subsector. The number of jobs in Professional & Business Services is up 400 from a year ago.

Another loss of 600 jobs was reported in the Financial Activities sector. Half of the job loss was noted in the Finance & Insurance segment of the sector, while the remaining 300 jobs were lost in the Real Estate, Rental & Leasing segment. In all, Financial Activities employment is up 500 over the year.  

Payrolls fell by 400 in the Construction sector, as declines were reported among the Specialty Trade Contractor's subsector and the Construction of Buildings subsector. Over the year, Construction employment is up 400.  

Lastly, the number of jobs in Other Services fell by 100 November, but jobs within this sector are up 500 from November 2018.  

Employment in the Health Care & Social Assistance and Government sectors remained unchanged in November, while being up 2,800 and 200, respectively, over the year.  

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings 

In November 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.47 per hour, up twenty-six cents from October 2019, and up twenty-seven cents from November 2018.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.6 hours per week in November, up four-tenths of an hour over the month, but down two hours and five-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’ November labor force data and job counts on December 20, 2019. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the December 2019 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020. 

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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