RI Department of Labor and Training
Consumer Advisory

Rhode Island-Based Jobs Down 700 from July;
August Unemployment Rate Increases to 5.6 Percent (pdf)

September 15, 2016

  Aug. 16 July 16 Aug. 15
RI Unemployment Rate 5.6% 5.5% 5.8%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  4.9% 4.9% 5.1%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
490.8 491.5 485.0


  • The RI unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point over the month.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 700 from July but up 5,800 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 1,100 over the month.
  • There were 10,497 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in August.*

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2016 was 5.6 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the July rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down two-tenths of a percentage point from the August 2015 rate.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in August 2016, unchanged from the previous month and down two-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 30,900, up 400 from the July figure of 30,500. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 1,000.

A total of 10,497 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in August 2016,* down from 11,009 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 32.2 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 525,800, up 1,100 from the July figure of 524,700. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 3,100 from August 2015.

The RI labor force totaled 556,800 in August 2016, up 1,600 from July 2016 and up 2,200 from August 2015.  

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 490,800 in August, reflecting a loss of 700 jobs from the revised July estimate of 491,500. On average, the state added 1,400 jobs over the past three months and now has 5,800 more jobs than a year ago. Thus far, a total of 2,300 jobs were added to the local economy in 2016, on pace with the 2,200 jobs which were added during the same period in 2015.

The Professional & Business Services sector lost 600 jobs in August, erasing two-thirds of the 900 jobs it added in July. Despite the monthly loss, the sector added 1,900 jobs over the year.

In Manufacturing, jobs fell by 500 in August, ending two consecutive months of job gains which totaled 800 jobs. Most of the monthly jobs losses came from the nondurable goods component of manufacturing. Over the year, the Manufacturing sector added 700 jobs.

The Financial Activities and Retail Trade sectors each lost 300 jobs in August, as both industries have reported two consecutive months of job declines. Employment in Financial Activities is down 200 since August 2015, while employment in Retail Trade is down 100 from a year ago.

Smaller job losses were reported in Educational Services (-200) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100), while employment remained unchanged in Information and Mining & Logging.

Offsetting the job losses was a gain of 400 jobs reported in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector, pushing the employment level up to 81,400, the highest employment level on record. Over the year, the number of jobs in Health Care & Social Assistance is up 600.

A gain of 200 jobs was reported in each of the Government, Other Services and Wholesale Trade sectors. Over the year, employment in Government and Other Services is up 1,000 and 600, respectively, while employment in Wholesale Trade is down 500 from August 2015.

The Accommodation & Food Services, Construction and Transportation & Utilities sectors each added 100 jobs in August. Employment in Accommodation & Food Services is up 1,200 over the year, while employment in both Construction and Transportation & Utilities is up 300 from a year ago.
MANUFACTURING: In August 2016, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.27 per hour, down thirteen cents from July 2016, but up eighty-two cents from August 2015. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.2 hours per week in August, down five-tenths of an hour from July and down three-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 www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.  BLS will be releasing all states’ August labor force data and job counts on September 20, 2016. DLT is scheduled to release the September 2016 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, October 20, 2016, 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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