RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 10.7 Percent (pdf)


September 21, 2012

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2012 dropped to 10.7 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the July 2012 rate and seven-tenths of a percentage point from the August 2011 rate. This is the fourth consecutive monthly decrease in the unemployment rate, and represents the lowest unemployment rate in Rhode Island since May 2009.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August 2012, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down one percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 700 over the July figure to 59,200 in August. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 5,000. This is the lowest level of unemployed RI residents since April 2009.

The number of employed RI residents was up 600 over the July figures, increasing to 495,500 in August. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased 3,300 from August 2011.

The RI labor force totaled 554,700 in August 2012, down 100 from July 2012 and 8,300 from August 2011. The labor force decrease was due to the loss in unemployed residents outweighing the gain in employed residents.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 456,900 in August, reflecting a gain of 1,100 jobs from the revised July employment estimate of 455,800. The August employment increase marks the first employment increase in three months.

The August preliminary estimates indicate that the Accommodation & Food Services sector added 900 jobs over the month, with job gains being reported in local restaurants, hotels and area recreational parks and vacation camps.

The Health Care & Social Assistance sector added 800 jobs over the month, the first over-the-month increase since March 2012 and the largest since September 1997 (+800). Notable employment gains within the sector were reported in the ambulatory health care services subsector.

An increase of 400 jobs was reported in the Educational Services sector as some academic programs in higher education resumed earlier than in previous years. The Construction sector added 300 jobs over the month, marking three consecutive monthly gains which totaled 1,200 jobs.

Five other employment sectors also added jobs in August, including Financial Activities (+200), Other Services (+200), Transportation & Utilities (+100), Information (+100) and Wholesale Trade (+100).

The Retail Trade sector lost 600 jobs over the month due to reported employment losses in motor vehicle and parts dealers and general merchandise stores. The Professional & Business Services lost 500 jobs over the month due to job losses in waste service and a seasonal drop in employment services. Manufacturing employment also declined by 500, due to job losses in durable goods. Smaller losses were reported in the Government (-300) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) sectors.

Over the year, total nonfarm employment decreased by 2,800. Job losses were reported in seven economic sectors, including Health Care & Social Assistance (-1,800), Retail Trade (-1,600), Professional & Business Services (-1,500), Government (-1,400), Other Services (-400), Manufacturing (-200) and Wholesale Trade (-100).

Accommodation & Food Services (+1,800), Construction (+1,200), Information (+800), Financial Activities (+200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100) and Transportation & Utilities (+100) all reported over-the-year job gains. Employment in Educational Services and Mining & Logging remained unchanged over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2012, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.25 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down 32 cents from July 2012 and up $1.32 from August 2011. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.8 hours per week in August, up six-tenths over the month and up one hour and two-tenths 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 web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The September labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, October 19, 2012.




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 on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov