RI Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.0 percent in February (pdf)
1,500 new RI-based jobs created

March 20
, 2014

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2014 dropped to 9.0 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the January 2014 rate and down half of a percentage point from the February 2013 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since October 2008.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in February 2014, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down one percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 49,700, down 800 from the revised January figure of 50,500. This represents the seventh consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since September 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 3,600.

The number of employed RI residents was up 3,600 over the January figure, increasing to 503,300 in February. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased 2,900 from February 2013.

The RI labor force totaled 552,900 in February 2014, up 2,600 from January 2014 but down 6,600 from February 2013.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 476,700 in February, reflecting a gain of 1,500 jobs from the revised January employment estimate of 475,200. February marks two consecutive months of job gains totaling 5,500.

A gain of 1,500 jobs was reported in the Professional & Business Services sector as large job gains were scattered among the Administrative & Support Services and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services subsectors.

The Financial Activities and Other Services sectors each added 300 jobs in February. Credit intermediation services reported gains within Financial Activities as did civic and professional organizations within the Other Services sector.

The Retail Trade, Construction and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors all added 200 jobs since January, while employment within the Accommodation & Food Services sector increased by 100.

The Information and Mining & Logging sectors reported no change in their February employment.

Employment in the Wholesale Trade sector decreased by 400 in February as declines were reported among durable goods wholesalers. Elsewhere, a loss of 300 jobs was reported in the Educational Services sector, followed by Health Care & Social Assistance (-200) and Government (-200), Manufacturing (-100) and Transportation & Utilities (-100).
Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 8,400, the largest year-over-year increase since February 2001, when there were 8,800 more jobs than reported in February 2000. Over the year job gains appeared in twelve economic sectors, including Professional & Business Services (+2,300), Accommodation & Food Services (+1,600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,100), Manufacturing (+1,000), Retail Trade (+600), Educational Services (+600), Health Care & Social Assistance (+500), Construction (+300), Financial Activities (+300), Other Services (+300), Wholesale Trade (+200) and Transportation & Utilities (+100).
The Information (-500) sector was the only sector to lose employment over the year, while employment in Government and Mining & Logging was unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In February 2014, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.78 per hour, down 36 cents from January 2014 but up 3 cents from February 2013. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.4 hours per week in February, down two-tenths of an hour over the month but up one-tenth of an hour from a year ago.


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 employment figures are 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 CES estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The March labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 2:00 P.M.


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 on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.