RI Department of Labor and Training

PRESS RELEASE
 

January Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.3 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs Down 600 from December (pdf)

March 10, 2016

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2016 dropped to 5.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised December 2015 rate of 5.4 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and two-tenths percentage points from the January 2015 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since August 2007.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in January 2016, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down eight-tenths of a percentage point over the year.
 
The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 29,400, down 600 from the revised December figure of 30,000. This represents the lowest unemployment level since June 2007. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 6,600.

A total of 13,589 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in January 2016,* down from 15,579 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 39.7 percent of the total unemployed.

  Jan. 16 Dec. 15 Jan. 15
RI Unemployment Rate 5.3% 5.4% 6.5%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.9% 5.0% 5.7%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
487.9 488.5 483.8

Highlights:  

  • The RI unemployment rate declined to 5.3%, its lowest level since August 2007.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 600 from December but up 4,100 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 200 over the month.
  • There were 13,589 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in January.*

The number of employed RI residents was 522,400, up 200 from the revised December figure of 522,200. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 3,600 from January 2015.

The RI labor force totaled 551,800 in January 2016, down 400 from December 2015 and down 2,900 from January 2015.  

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 487,900 in January, reflecting a loss of 600 jobs from the revised December estimate of 488,500. The January jobs report marks the first month of job losses since September 2015. Over the year, 4,100 jobs have been added since January 2015.

Educational Services experienced the largest over-the month decline falling 1,100 since December to 22,700 jobs, the lowest job level for this sector since July 2009. This sector averaged a loss of 600 jobs over the past three months and is down 2,400 jobs from January 2015.

January job losses were also reported in the Health Care & Social Assistance (-500), Transportation & Utilities
(-400), Wholesale Trade (-300), Retail Trade (-300), Accommodation & Food Services (-100), Information (-100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) sectors. Over the year, the Accommodation & Food Services (+700), Transportation & Utilities (+400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+200) and Information (+100) sectors posted job gains while the Wholesale Trade (-700), Health Care & Social Assistance (-100) and Retail Trade (-100) sectors showed job losses.

Professional & Business Services reported the largest over the month increase from December, adding 1,400 jobs, with the bulk of the increase occurring in the Administrative & Waste Services sector, which posted a gain of 1,200 over the month. This sector includes establishments that offer routine support activities to businesses and in some cases households such as office administration, temporary help, security, cleaning, and waste disposal services. This sector is up 2,900 jobs since January 2015.

The Construction sector also posted an over-the-month job increase, adding 400 jobs since December to reach 18,800 jobs in January. The Construction sector is up 2,200 jobs since last January and is at its highest job level since December 2008.

Other sectors showing a job increase from December include Government (+300) and Financial Activities (+200). The Financial Activities sector also posted an over-the-year increase of 800 jobs, while the Government sector lost 400 jobs since January 2015.

The Manufacturing, Other Services, and Mining & Logging sectors were unchanged over the month. Over the year, the Manufacturing sector increased by 300 jobs, while the Other Services sector was up 200 and the Mining & Logging sector was unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In January 2016, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.58 per hour, up 11 cents from December 2015 but down 81 cents from January 2015. Manufacturing
employees worked an average of 37.9 hours per week in January, down an hour and six-tenths from December and down one-tenth over the year.
 
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 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 measure 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 web site at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.  BLS will be releasing all states’ January labor force data and job counts on March 14, 2016. DLT is scheduled to release the February 2016 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, March 24, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

 

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 web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

*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.
Estimates for January 2016 released by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will differ until the BLS publishes the January final estimates on March 25, 2016. The January final estimates for Rhode Island were available in time for publication on March 10, 2016, therefore, the RI DLT decided to publish January final estimates in lieu of publishing the January preliminary estimates. The U.S. BLS will release the January preliminary estimates for all states on March 14, 2016, followed by the January final estimates on March 25, 2016.  

 

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ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity 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 DLT at (401) 462-8000 or visit our website at www.dlt.ri.gov.

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