RI Department of Labor and Training

August Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.1 percent (pdf)

September 19, 2013

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2013 increased to 9.1 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from the July 2013 rate of 8.9 percent, but down 1.3 percentage points from the August 2012 rate.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in August 2013, down 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—was 50,100, up 800 from the previous month. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 8,200.

The number of employed RI residents dropped 4,400 over the month, decreasing to 502,200 in August. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased 700 from August 2012.

The RI labor force totaled 552,200 in August 2013, down 3,800 from July 2013 and down 9,000 from August 2012.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 468,100 in August, reflecting a gain of 2,000 jobs from the July revised employment estimate of 466,100.

The August boost to the economy was fueled by a gain of 700 jobs in the Retail Trade sector as clothing stores, grocery stores and health and personal care stores increased their employment levels. The Educational Services and Accommodation & Food Services sectors each added 400 jobs from July. Private area colleges and trade schools prepared for the start of another school year, while local restaurants added additional staff.

The Government sector added 300 jobs over-the-month as federal, state and local subsectors each added 100 jobs. In addition, August employment gains were reported in the Other Services (+300), Transportation & Utilities (+200), Professional & Business Services (+200), Construction (+100) and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors (+100).

The Manufacturing sector trimmed 300 jobs in August. Smaller employment losses were reported in the Wholesale Trade (-200), Financial Activities (-200) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) sectors. Employment remained unchanged in the Information and Mining & Logging sectors.

Over the year, total nonfarm employment rose by 1,700, as job gains appeared in six economic sectors including Professional & Business Services (+2,100), Financial Activities (+1,500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+800), Retail Trade (+800), Manufacturing (+400), and Government (+400).

Employment in eight sectors—Accommodation & Food Services (-1,300), Construction (-700), Other Services
(-700), Educational Services (-700), Information (-600), Health Care & Social Assistance (-100), Transportation & Utilities (-100) and Wholesale Trade
(-100)—was down over the year. Employment in Mining & Logging was unchanged over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2013, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.05 per hour, up 17 cents from July 2013 and up 80 cents from August 2012. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in August, down a half-hour over the month 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 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 website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The September labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 2:00 P.M.

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, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the website at www.dlt.ri.gov