RI Department of Labor and Training


Rhode Island Unemployment Rate Dropped to 6.1 Percent; Added 600 Jobs in April (pdf)

May 21, 2015

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2015 dropped to 6.1 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the March 2015 rate of 6.3 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down two percentage points from the April 2014 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2007.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April 2015, 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 33,700, down 1,000 from the revised March figure of 34,700. This represents the lowest unemployment level since November 2007. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 11,200.

A total of 12,898 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in April 2015,* down from 13,445 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 41.5 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 520,100, up 2,800 from the March figure of 517,300. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 9,700 from April 2014.

The RI labor force totaled 553,800 in April 2015, up 1,900 from March 2015 but down 1,500 from April 2014.


  April 15 March 15 April 14
RI Unemployment Rate      6.1% 6.3%


U.S. Unemployment Rate    5.4% 5.5% 6.2%
RI Job Count (in thousands) 481.4 480.8



  • The RI unemployment rate declined to 6.1%, its lowest level since December 2007.

  • The number of RI-based jobs is up 600 from March and up 4,300 from a year ago.

  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 2,800 over the month.

  • There were 12,898 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in April.*


Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 481,400 in April, reflecting a gain of 600 jobs from the revised March estimate of 480,800. Thus far, the state’s job count is up 2,100 through 2015, and up 4,300 from a year ago.

The Professional & Business Services sector added 1,400 jobs in April as a surge of landscapers were added back to the payrolls following unfavorable weather-related working conditions which were present in March. This was the first job gain within the Professional & Business sector since September 2014.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector posted a gain of 500 jobs in April, equaling the same amount added in March. The employment level of 47,800 in this sector is the highest level on record.

Both the Retail Trade and Government sectors added 200 jobs in April, while a gain of 100 jobs each was added in the Health Care & Social Assistance and Educational Services sectors.                                                    

Offsetting the April gains were job losses reported in eight economic sectors. The Construction sector continues to struggle, shedding 400 jobs from March. April’s loss marks three consecutive months of Construction job losses totaling 1,200 jobs. Employment in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector also fell by 400 in April.

The Manufacturing sector lost 300 jobs, the first job loss in this sector over the last six months. A loss of 200 jobs was reported in the Financial Activities, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade sectors, while a loss of 100 jobs was reported in both the Information and Other Services sectors.
Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 4,300 as job gains appeared in seven economic sectors, including Accommodation & Food Services (+1,600), Other Services (+1,200) and Professional & Business Services (+1,100). Smaller over-the-year gains were also noted in Manufacturing (+700), Transportation & Utilities (+700), Health Care & Social Assistance (+600) and Educational Services (+300).

Employment in six sectors — Construction (-800), Retail Trade (-300), Wholesale Trade (-300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Information        (-200) and Government  (-100) — was down over the year. Employment in Financial Activities and Mining & Logging remained unchanged since April 2014.

MANUFACTURING: In April 2015, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.76 per hour, down 21cents from March 2015 and down 77 cents from April 2014. Manufacturing production employees worked an average of 39.9 hours per week in April, up eight-tenths of an hour over the month but down nine-tenths 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 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 http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The March 2015 labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, April 16, 2015, 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 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.