RI Department of Labor and Training
Media Advisory

August Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.0 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 2,400 from July (pdf)

September 20, 2018

Cranston, RI - The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2018 was 4.0 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the July rate of 4.1 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from the August 2017 rate of 4.4 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in August 2018, unchanged 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 22,500, down 800 from July. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,100.

A total of 9,574 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in August 2018 *, down from 9,732 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 44.2 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 539,600, an increase of 1,000 from the July figure of 538,600. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 8,900 from August 2017 (530,700).

The RI labor force totaled 562,200 in August 2018, up 200 from July 2018 and up 6,900 from August 2017 (555,300). 


  Aug. 18 July 18 Aug. 17
RI Unemployment Rate 4.0% 4.1% 4.4%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  3.9% 3.9% 4.4%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
501.9 504.3 495.5


  • The RI unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from last month and down four-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 2,400 from July, but up 6,400 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 1,000 over the month.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: The number of Rhode Island based-jobs fell to 501,900 in August, a decrease of 2,400 jobs from the revised July employment level of 504,300. August marks the first monthly job decline in Rhode Island since March. Overall, Rhode Island’s job count is up 6,400 from August 2017.  

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 1,300 jobs in August, shedding all the 1,200 jobs it added in July. Prior to August, this sector had reported four consecutive months of employment gains, totaling 2,600 jobs. Over the year, employment in the Accommodation & Food Services sector is up 800.

A loss of 1,000 jobs was reported in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector, erasing the 1,000 jobs it added in July. Despite the large August decline, the number of jobs in Health Care & Social Assistance is up 1,500 from August 2017.

The number of jobs in the Other Services and Wholesale Trade sectors fell by 400 and 300, respectively. Employment in Other Services is up 1,000 over the year, while down 500 in Wholesale Trade.

The Manufacturing sector lost 200 jobs in August, while a loss of 100 jobs each was reported in the Construction, Educational Services, Government and Transportation & Utilities sectors. Among these sectors, Educational Services (-100) was the lone sector to report an over-the-year job loss. Construction employment is up 700 from August 2017, while employment in Manufacturing and Transportation & Utilities is up 500 and 300, respectively, during this period. Government employment remained unchanged from a year ago.

Offsetting some of the August job losses was a gain of 600 jobs reported in the Professional & Business Services sector and a gain of 500 jobs in the Retail Trade sector. The number of jobs in the Professional & Business Services sector is up 1,800 from August 2017, while Retail Trade employment is down 100 from August 2017.  

The Financial Services sector added 100 jobs in August and is up 400 jobs from a year ago.

Employment in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Information and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged in August.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.43 per hour, down three cents from July 2018, but up fifty-one cents from August 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.6 hours per week in August, down one-tenth of an hour over the month, but up four-tenths of an hour from a year ago.


*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.

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 measures 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 21, 2018. DLT is scheduled to release the September 2018 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, October 18, 2018, 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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