RI Department of Labor and Training
Press Release
April Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 4.3 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 200 from March (pdf)

May 18, 2017

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2017 was 4.3 percent, unchanged from the March rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and one-tenth percentage points from the April 2016 rate of 5.4 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in April 2017, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down six-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 23,900, down 100 from the revised March figure of 24,000. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 6,000.

A total of 11,167 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in April 2017,* down from 11,974 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 49.5 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 531,600, up 1,500 from the March figure of 530,100. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 9,100 from April 2016.

The RI labor force totaled 555,500 in April 2017, up 1,400 from March 2017 and up 3,100 from April 2016. 


  April 17 March 17 April 16
RI Unemployment Rate 4.3% 4.3% 5.4%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.4% 4.5% 5.0%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
494.6 494.8 489.6


  • The RI unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, unchanged from last month and down one and one-tenth percentage points from a year ago.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 200 from March and up 5,000 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 1,500 over the month.
  • There were 11,167 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in April.*

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 494,600 in April, reflecting a loss of 200 jobs from the revised March estimate of 494,800. The April loss marks two consecutive months of job declines totaling 700 jobs. Despite the recent downward trend, employment is up 5,000 from a year ago. Through April of this year, Rhode Island has added 3,300 jobs, or an average of 800 jobs per month. In comparison, through April 2016, a total of 1,000 jobs were added, or an average of 300 jobs per month.

The number of jobs in the Professional & Business Services sector fell by 800 in April due to losses in the Administrative & Waste Services sector.  Although payrolls within this sector have receded over the past two months, the number of jobs is still up 600 from a year ago.

A loss of 800 jobs was also reported in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector, knocking the employment level below 10,000, a milestone figure achieved in January of this year. Over the year, the number of jobs in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation remained unchanged.

Health Care & Social Assistance lost 400 jobs in April, the sector’s largest loss since January 2016 (-400). The number of jobs in Rhode Island’s largest employment sector is up 500 from April 2016.

Rounding out April’s job declines were losses reported in the Other Services (-300) and Educational Services (-100) sectors. Over the year, employment in Other Services is down 300, while employment in Educational Services is up 500.

Offsetting April’s job losses was an increase of 900 jobs reported in the Manufacturing sector. Through April’s gain, the Manufacturing sector has a year-over-year gain of 500 jobs, the first year-over-year job gain since a gain of 100 jobs was reported between November 2014 and November 2015.

The Financial Activities sector ended two consecutive months of job declines by adding 500 jobs in April, while a gain of 400 jobs was reported in Retail Trade. Smaller monthly job gains were reported in the Wholesale Trade (+200), Accommodation & Food Services (+100) and Government (+100) sectors.

The number of jobs in the Construction, Information, Mining & Logging and Transportation & Utilities sectors remained unchanged from April. Among these sectors, employment in Construction was up 1,800 and Transportation & Utilities was up 100 over the year. The number of jobs in the Information sector is down 500 from April 2016 while Mining & Logging employment is unchanged from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In April 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.96 per hour, up three cents from March 2017 and up sixty-eight cents from April 2016.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in April, up one-tenth of an hour over the month and up one 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 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 website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.  BLS will be releasing all states’ April labor force data and job counts on May 19, 2017. DLT is scheduled to release the May 2017 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, June 15, 2017, 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

*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.

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