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Rhode Island-Based Jobs Increased 100 from November;
December Unemployment Remains at 3.5 Percent (pdf)

January 23, 2020



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

Dec 2019


Nov 2019


Dec 2018



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

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in December 2019, unchanged from the previous month and down four-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 19,400, down 200 from November. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,800.  

A total of 9,342 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in December 2019[1]*, a decrease of 184 from the 9,526 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 51.9 percent of the total unemployed. 

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 539,100, up 1,200 from November. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was up 5,000 from December 2018 (534,100). 

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 558,500 in December 2019, up 1,000 from November 2019 and up 2,300 from December 2018 (556,200). 

*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.


Rhode Island-Based Jobs  

The Rhode Island December nonfarm job count of 506,300 increased by 100 from the revised November job count of 506,200. Through this gain, the state has added jobs for three consecutive months, totaling 2,900 jobs. Over the year, Rhode Island-based jobs are up 8,600. 

Employment in both the Accommodations & Food Services and Professional & Business Services sectors grew by 300 from November. The number of jobs in Accommodation & Food Services are up a robust 2,100 from a year ago, while the number of jobs in Professional & Business Services are up 300 from a year ago.  

Government employment grew by 200 in December and is up 200 from December 2018. 

The Health Care & Social Assistance, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade sectors each added 100 jobs in December. Over the year, employment in Health Care & Social Assistance and Wholesale Trade are up 3,000 and 1,400, respectively, while Manufacturing employment is down 600. 

Offsetting some of the December job gains was a loss of 400 jobs reported in the Educational Services sector. The number of jobs in Educational Services is up 200 from a year ago.  

The number of jobs in the Retail Trade and Other Services fell by 200 in December, and are down 600 and 100, respectively, from a year ago. 

Jobs fell by 100 in both the Transportation & Utilities and Information sectors. Employment in Transportation & Utilities is up 1,200 from December 2018, while employment in the Information sector is up 300 from December 2018. 

The December job counts remained unchanged in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Construction and Financial Activities sectors. Over the year, jobs are up in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+900) and Financial Activities (+600), while being down in the Construction (-300) sector.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings  

In December 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.21 per hour, down twenty-four cents from November 2019, but up seventeen cents from December 2018.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.6 hours per week in December, up one-tenth of an hour over the month, but down two hours and six-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’ December labor force data and job counts on January 23, 2020. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the January 2020 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 12, 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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