RI Department of Labor and Training

April Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.3 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs Down 1,500 from March (pdf)

May 19, 2016

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2016 was 5.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the March rate of 5.4 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one percentage point from the April 2015 rate. This is the lowest rate since August 2007.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in April 2016, 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 29,600, down 300 from the March figure of 29,900. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 5,200.

A total of 11,974 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in April 2016,* down from 12,898 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 45.1 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 523,300, up 500 from the March figure of 522,800. This is the highest employment level since August 2008. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 2,000 from April 2015.


  April 16 Mar. 16 April 15
RI Unemployment Rate 5.3% 5.4% 6.3%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  5.0% 5.0% 5.4%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
489.1 490.6 484.0


  • The RI unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.3 percent, its lowest level since August 2007.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 1,500 from March, but up 5,100 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 500 over the month.
  • There were 11,974 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in April.*

The RI labor force totaled 552,800 in April 2016, unchanged from March 2016 but down 3,200 from April 2015.  

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 489,100 in April, reflecting a loss of 1,500 jobs from the revised March estimate of 490,600. Through 2016, a total of 600 jobs have been added to the local economy. The total number of jobs is up 5,100 from a year ago.

The Professional & Businesses Services sector lost 1,200 jobs in April, due, in part, to less hiring within the sector which typically occurs during this time of year. Despite this steep loss, the number of jobs in Professional & Business Services is up 900 since the start of the year and is up 2,000 over the year.

Employment in the Construction sector fell by 700 in April, marking two consecutive months of job declines totaling 900 jobs. In all, there are 1,200 more jobs in the Construction sector than in April 2015.

Three employment sectors, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Educational Services and Financial Activities, each reported a loss of 300 jobs in April. Of these three sectors, employment in both Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Financial Activities is up 100 over the year, while employment in Educational Services is down 1,000 from April 2015. The Other Services sector was the only remaining sector to experience a job loss in April, shedding 100 jobs.

In April, the Manufacturing employment level was 42,200, reflecting a gain of 400 jobs from March. The number of jobs within this sector is up 1,000 over the year.

Employment in both the Accommodation & Food Services and Government sectors was up 300 in April. Employment in Accommodation & Food Services is up 2,000 since April 2015, while Government employment is down 300.

A gain of 200 jobs was reported in both the Retail Trade and the Wholesale Trade sectors, while employment remained unchanged in the Information, Health Care & Social Assistance, Mining & Logging and Transportation & Utilities sectors.

MANUFACTURING: In April 2016, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.27 per hour, up twelve cents from March 2016 and up fifty-three cents from April 2015. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.5 hours per week in April, up three-tenths of an hour from March but down an hour and three-tenths 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’ April labor force data and job counts on May 20, 2016. DLT is scheduled to release the May 2016 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.


*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.



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

Previous Index Next