RI Department of Labor and Training

PRESS RELEASE
 

Rhode Island-Based Jobs Up 3,300 from June;
July Unemployment Rate at 5.8 Percent (pdf)

August 20, 2015

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2015 dropped to 5.8 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the June 2015 rate of 5.9 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and eight-tenths percentage points from the July 2014 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since October 2007.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in July 2015, unchanged from the previous month and down nine-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 32,200, down 800 from the June figure of 33,000. This represents the lowest unemployment level since September 2007. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 9,700.

A total of 10,869 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in July 2015,* down from 12,561 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 33.1 percent of the total unemployed.

 

  July 15 June 15 July 14
RI Unemployment Rate      5.8% 5.9% 7.6%
U.S. Unemployment Rate    5.3% 5.3% 6.2%
RI Job Count (in thousands) 486.2 482.9 480.0

Highlights:  

  • The RI unemployment rate declined to 5.8%, its lowest level since October 2007.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is up 3,300 from June and up 6,200 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 2,100 over the month.
  • There were 10,869 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in July.*

The number of employed RI residents was 527,600, up 2,100 from the June figure of 525,500. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 15,100 from July 2014.

The RI labor force totaled 559,800 in July 2015, up 1,300 from June 2015 and up 5,400 from July 2014.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 486,200 in July, reflecting a gain of 3,300 jobs from the revised June estimate of 482,900. July’s employment level marks the highest employment level since March 2008. During the past three months, Rhode Island has averaged a gain of 1,600 jobs and has added 6,200 jobs over the year. Since the start of the year, jobs are up 6,900.

The Professional & Business Services sector added 1,400 jobs over the month and has added 4,200 jobs over the year, the most of any sector. In all, this sector has added jobs in four consecutive months totaling 5,100 jobs.

Employment in the Government sector rose by 1,000, stemming from growth reported in the local government branch. Government employment is up 200 from July 2014.  Most of the over-the-month growth in the local government branch was in educational services likely due to many school districts extending the school year to make up for snow days.

Several other industry sectors added jobs from June, including: Retail Trade (+700), Educational Services (+500), Transportation & Utilities (+300), Manufacturing (+300), Financial Activities (+300) and Construction and Wholesale Trade, which added 200 jobs each.

The addition of 700 jobs in the Retail Trade sector propelled its employment level to the highest level since March 2010. Jobs in Retail Trade are up 100 over the year. Also of note, the Construction sector has added monthly job gains for only the third time this year while being down 1,300 jobs from a year ago. The Wholesale Trade sector has gone three consecutive months without reporting job losses as jobs are up 400 during this period and also up 200 from July 2014.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector took another step back, shedding 1,200 jobs over the month after losing 900 jobs in June. Over the year, Accommodation & Food Services is still up by 600 jobs. Smaller job losses in July were also reported in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Health Care & Social Assistance (-100) and Information (-100).

The job market in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector remains stagnant as a net gain of 400 jobs has been added to the sector since the start of the year. Overall, employment within the sector is up 200 from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In July 2015, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.20 per hour, up 88 cents from June 2015 but down 36 cents from July 2014. Manufacturing production employees worked an average of 39.0 hours per week in July, no change from June but hours were down an hour and one-tenth 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’ July labor force data and job counts on August 21, 2015. DLT is scheduled to release the August 2015 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 2:00 p.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 web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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