March Unemployment Rate Decreases to 4.5 Percent;
April 19, 2018
The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2018 was 4.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised February rate of 4.6 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is up one-tenth of a percentage point from the March 2017 rate of 4.4 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in March 2018, unchanged from the previous month and down four-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 25,300, down 100 from February. Over the year, the number of unemployed increased by 800.
A total of 11,656 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in March 2018 *, down from 13,010 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 43.9 percent of the total unemployed.
The number of employed RI residents was 532,700, an increase of 700 from the February figure of 532,000. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 4,200 from March 2017 (528,500).
The RI labor force totaled 558,000 in March 2018, up 600 from February 2018 and up 4,900 from March 2017 (553,100).
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: In March, Rhode Island’s nonfarm payroll employment level of 498,300 was down by 500 from the revised February employment level of 498,800. The number of Rhode Island based jobs are up 6,400 from March 2017.
The number of jobs in the Construction sector fell by 500 in March, marking the first job loss within this sector over the past ten months. Employment in the Construction sector is up 300 from a year ago.
Health Care & Social Assistance employment declined by 400 in March, after declining by 300 in February. Despite the two consecutive months of job declines, Health Care & Social Assistance employment is up 1,200 over the year.
In March, Accommodation & Food Services employment decreased by 300, and the Educational Services and Financial Activities sectors each reported a loss of 200 jobs over the month. Educational Services employment has fallen for four consecutive months, shedding 800 jobs, and is down by 900 from March 2017. Over the year, the number of jobs in Financial Activities and Accommodation & Food Services are up 600 and 100, respectively.
Payrolls in Manufacturing fell by 100 for the third straight month, but the overall job count in the Manufacturing sector is still up 900 from a year ago.
Offsetting some of the March job decline was a gain of 500 jobs reported in the Professional & Business Services sector. Most of the job gains within this sector can be attributed to gains in the Administrative & Waste Services subsector. The number of jobs in the Professional & Business Services sector are up 3,000 over the year.
Both the Government and Retail Trade sectors added 200 jobs in March, with each sector being up 200 jobs from a year ago.
Finally, the Other Services, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade sectors all reported a gain of 100 jobs each in March. The Other Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors are up 600 and 400 jobs, respectively, from a year ago, while employment in Wholesale Trade was up 100 from a year ago.
MANUFACTURING: In March 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.41 per hour, up fifty-three cents from February 2018, and up forty-eight cents from March 2017.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in March, down two and six-tenths hours over the month, and down one and one-tenths hours 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 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’ March labor force data and job counts on April 20, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the April 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 10:00 a.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 website at www.dlt.ri.gov.