RI Department of Labor and Training

May Unemployment Rate Remains at 5.4 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs Down 2,000 from April (pdf)

June 16, 2016

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2016 was 5.4 percent, unchanged from the revised April rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down seven-tenths of a percentage point from the May 2015 rate. The state’s unemployment rate has been at 5.4 percent for six consecutive months.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in May 2016, down three-tenths 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 29,700, up 100 from the April figure of 29,600. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 4,500.

A total of 8,586 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in May 2016,* down from 9,098 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 29.8 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 522,800, down 400 from the April figure of 523,200. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 800 from May 2015.

The RI labor force totaled 552,500 in May 2016, down 300 from April 2016 and down 3,700 from May 2015.



  May 16 April. 16 May 15
RI Unemployment Rate 5.4% 5.4% 6.1%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.7% 5.0% 5.5%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
486.7 488.7 485.6


  • The RI unemployment rate remained at 5.4 percent for the sixth consecutive month.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 2,000 from April, but up 1,100 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents decreased by 400 over the month.
  • There were 8,586 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in May.*

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 486,700 in May, reflecting a loss of 2,000 jobs from the revised April estimate of 488,700. The state has lost a total of 3,900 jobs since March. Over the year, the number of jobs is up 1,100.

The Information and Manufacturing sectors each reported a loss of 600 jobs in May. All of the jobs lost within the Information sector stem from a labor dispute involving a telecommunications company. The decline in Manufacturing can be attributed to large losses reported in the durable goods component of the Manufacturing sector. The loss of 600 jobs in the Manufacturing sector marks the largest loss since March 2009 (-600). Despite this loss, jobs within this sector are up 600 from a year ago.

The Transportation & Utilities sector has yet to report a job gain in 2016, shedding 400 jobs in May. This sector lost 1,200 jobs since the start of the year, while the number of jobs from May 2015 is down by 400.

A loss 300 jobs was reported in both the Construction and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors. The Construction
sector has reported three consecutive months of declines totaling 1,200 jobs, while the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector reported two consecutive months of declines totaling 600 jobs. In all, Construction employment is up 800 from a year ago, as opposed to employment in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, which is down 200 from a year ago.

The Accommodation & Food Services, Other Services and Retail Trade sectors all reported a loss of 200 jobs in May, while a loss of 100 jobs was reported in each of the Government, Professional & Business Services and Wholesale Trade sectors. The number of jobs in the Professional & Business Services (+1,300), Accommodation & Food Services (+800) and Other Services (+200) sectors is up from May 2015, while the number of jobs in the Wholesale Trade (-800), Government (-500) and Retail Trade (-100) sectors is down.  

Offsetting May’s job declines were job gains reported in the Educational Services (+800), Health Care & Social Assistance (+200) and Financial Activities (+100) sectors.

The job figure in Mining & Logging remained unchanged from April.

MANUFACTURING: In May 2016, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.97 per hour, down thirty-one cents from April 2016, but up forty-four cents from May 2015. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in May, down two-tenths of an hour from April and down two-tenths of an hour 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’ May labor force data and job counts on June 17, 2016. DLT is scheduled to release the June 2016 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, July 21, 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

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