May 21, 2020
The Rhode Island unemployment rate was 17.0 percent, up 12.3 percentage points from last month and up 13.4 percentage points from a year ago.
The number of Rhode Island-based jobs fell by 88,800 from March and is down 93,800 from a year ago.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents was up 63,800 over the month.
CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 17.0 percent in April, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and efforts to contain it, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Rhode Island's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in March and 3.6 percent in April 2019.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April, up from 4.4 percent in
March and 3.6 percent in April 2019.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents - those residents classified
as available for and actively seeking employment - was 90,300, up 63,800
from March. Over the year, the number of unemployed residents increased by
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 440,300, down 98,400 from
March. Last April there were 534,200 employed Rhode Island residents.
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 530,600 in April, down 34,600 from
March and down 23,700 from April 2019 (554,300).
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
After recording a record high 508,400 jobs in February 2020, the April
seasonally adjusted job count fell to 409,700 - a level not seen since
February 1984. Efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic hit the Rhode
Island economy hard as the number of nonfarm jobs fell by 88,800 in April,
following a revised loss of 9,900 jobs in March. The total number of Rhode
Island-based jobs lost between February and April was 98,700.
Employment dropped in all major industry sectors, with heavy job losses
reported in Leisure & Hospitality. In April, employment in Accommodation &
Food Services, one component of Leisure & Hospitality, plummeted by 31,300,
or 63 percent. In addition to the restaurants, drinking places, caterers and
food service contractors that were hit hard by the virus, the states two
hotel casinos were temporarily closed.
The Health Care & Social Assistance sector shed 14,300 (-17.5%) jobs in
April, as declines were felt in all phases of healthcare including offices
of physicians, dentists, other health care practitioners and nursing and
residential care facilities. Among the social assistance component, services
for the elderly and disabled, individual and family services, vocational
rehabilitation services and child day care services were all negatively
impacted by the pandemic.
Professional & Business Services lost 10,100 (-15.0%) jobs in April as sharp
losses occurred in temporary help services.
In April, the number of jobs in Retail Trade declined by 8,700 or 18.0
percent. Department stores, motor vehicle and parts dealers, clothing and
clothing accessories stores and health and personal care stores were among
the hardest hit Retail Trade subsectors.
Employment in the Other Services sector fell by 6,900, a 31.1 percent
decrease. Personal and laundry services and membership association and
organizations were industries that reported large job declines.
Sizeable job losses attributed to the coronavirus were also reported in the
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-3,700), Educational Services (-2,900),
Construction (-2,700), Transportation & Utilities (-2,700), Manufacturing
(-2,200), Financial Activities (-1,700) and Government (-1,000).
Smaller April job losses were noted in the Information and Wholesale Trade
sectors, with jobs declining by 400 and 200, respectively.
Over the year, substantial job losses were reported among the Accommodation
& Food Services (-33,600), Health Care & Social Assistance (-14,500),
Professional & Business Services (-10,900), Retail Trade (-8,700) and Other
Services (7,900) sectors.
Significant year-over-year declines were also noted in Arts, Entertainment &
Recreation (-4,700), Educational Services (-3,000), Construction (-2,800),
Manufacturing (-2,600), Transportation & Utilities (-2,200), Financial
Activities (-1,300), Government (-1,200) and Information (-600).
The Wholesale Trade (+200) sector was the lone industry sector to report a job increase from April 2019.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In April, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.71 per hour, down nineteen cents from March, but up twenty-eight cents from April 2019.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 35.9 hours per week in April, up five-tenths of an over the month, but down two and a half 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’ April labor force data and job counts on May 22, 2020. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the May 2020 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 18, 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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