RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.0 Percent (pdf)

June 15, 2012

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2012 dropped to 11.0 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the April 2012 rate. This reversed a three-month trend of small increases in the state’s unemployment rate.

The May 2012 rate was down three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous May.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May, up 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—decreased by 800 over the April figure to reach 61,400 in May. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 2,100.

Due to numerous eligibility requirements, the number of unemployed RI residents differs from the number of RI Unemployment Insurance recipients. The average weekly claim load for RI Unemployment Insurance benefits in May was 27,046, down 3,571 (-11.7%) from the April average of 30,617 and down 5,067 (-15.8%) from the May 2011 average of 32,113.

The number of employed RI residents was up 1,300 over the revised April figures, rising to 495,400 in May. This marked the first time in five months that the number of employed RI residents had increased, and represented the largest over-the-month increase since February 2010. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was down 4,800 from May 2011.

The RI labor force totaled 556,800 in May 2012, up 500 from April 2012 and down 6,900 from May 2011 estimates. The labor force increase reflected gains in employed residents outweighing the losses in unemployed residents. This was the first over-the-month increase in the labor force since April 2010.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 458,100 in May, reflecting a loss of 200 jobs from the revised April employment estimate of 458,300. The loss of 600 jobs in the Construction sector represented the largest over-the- month decline, while a gain of 800 jobs in Accommodation & Food Services sector represented the largest over-the-month increase.

Job losses in Construction were linked to a lull in the typical hiring practices which normally occur during this time of year. Retail Trade employment dropped 500 over the month, as fewer than usual personnel were added to retail payrolls in May. Within the Health Care & Social Assistance sector, employment losses of 500 were largely due to reported declines in the ambulatory health services subsector.

A loss of 200 jobs was reported in the Professional & Business Services sector, while employment in the Educational Services, Financial Activities, Wholesale Trade and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged.

Offsetting the May job declines, a gain in Accommodation & Food Services (+800) jobs occurred as area hotels and motels, full-service and limited-service restaurants reported employment gains. Smaller but positive job gains were also reported in the Manufacturing (+200); Transportation & Utilities (+200); Information (+100); Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100); Government (+100); and Other Services (+100).

Over the year, total nonfarm employment decreased by 3,700. Job losses were reported in seven economic sectors, including Health Care & Social Assistance (-1,800), Retail Trade (-1,500), Other Services (-900), Government (-600), Accommodation & Food Services (-400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-300), and Construction (-200).

Professional & Business Services employment posted the largest over-the-year increase in May, with a gain of 600 jobs, followed by Educational Services (+400), Wholesale Trade (+400), Manufacturing (+200), Information (+200), Financial Activities (+100) and Transportation & Utilities (+100).

Employment in Mining & Logging remained unchanged over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In May 2012, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.41 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 27 cents from April 2012 and up $2.71 from May 2011. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.9 hours per week in May, down one-tenth of an hour over the month and up seven-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 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 June labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, July 20, 2012.




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