RI Department of Labor and Training
Press Release

Rhode Island-Based Jobs unchanged from July;
August Unemployment Rate Remains at 4.3 Percent (pdf)

September 14, 2017

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2017 was 4.3 percent, unchanged from the July rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one percentage point from the August 2016 rate of 5.3 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August 2017, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down half of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 23,700, down 500 from the July figure of 24,200. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 5,800.

A total of 9,732 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in August 2017,* down from 10,497 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 41.0 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 532,700, down 100 from the July figure of 532,800. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 9,700 from August 2016.

The RI labor force totaled 556,400 in August 2017, down 600 from July 2017 and up 3,900 from August 2016. 


  Aug. 17 July 17 Aug. 16
RI Unemployment Rate 4.3% 4.3% 5.3%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.4% 4.3% 4.9%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
499.7 499.7 490.4


  • The RI unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, unchanged from last month and down one percentage point from a year ago.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is unchanged from July but up 9,300 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents decreased by 100 over the month.
  • There were 9,732 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in August.*

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: The number of Rhode Island based jobs in August remained unchanged from the revised July employment figure of 499,700. The Government sector, which lost 500 jobs in August, was offset by a gain of 500 jobs in the private sector. Overall, the number of jobs in Rhode Island is up 9,300 from a year ago.

Employment in the Construction sector rose by 1,100 in August, the largest gain among all industry sectors. The increase in jobs was driven by gains reported in the construction of buildings and specialty trade contractor subsectors. Construction employment is up 3,200 over the past year.

The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services sector grew by 400 in August, marking five consecutive months of job growth. A total of 4,100, or an average of 800 jobs per month were added through this five-month span. This industry has added 4,000 jobs over the year.

The Educational Services and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors each added 300 jobs over the month. These sectors have added 1,700 and 900 jobs, respectively, from a year ago.

Wholesale Trade employment increased by 200 from July and now has 600 more jobs than reported in August 2016.

The number of jobs in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Financial Activities, Mining & Logging and Professional & Business Services sectors remained unchanged.

Employment in the Manufacturing sector fell by 600 in August, erasing the gain of 600 jobs reported in July. Despite the August decline, the number of Manufacturing jobs is up 800 over the year.

The Government sector reported a decrease of 500 jobs over the month and a decrease of 600 jobs over the year. The number of jobs in the Transportation & Utilities sector is also down over the month and over the year, falling by 400 and 200 jobs, respectively.

A loss of 300 jobs was reported in both the Information and Other Services sectors. The Information sector has lost 500 jobs from August 2016, while the Other Services sector is up 100 jobs.

The Retail Trade sector has reported three consecutive months of job declines as the number of jobs in August fell by 200. A total of 900 jobs have been lost during this three-month period. The number of jobs in the Retail Trade sector is unchanged from a year ago.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.99 per hour, down forty-three cents from July 2017, but up seventy-five cents from August 2016.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40 hours per week in August, up seven-tenths of an hour over the month and up one and eight-tenths hours 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 website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.  BLS will be releasing all states’ August labor force data and job counts on September 15, 2017. DLT is scheduled to release the September 2017 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 10:00 a.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 website at www.dlt.ri.gov


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