RI Department of Labor and Training
Media Advisory

September Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs Unchanged from August (pdf)

October 18, 2018

Cranston, RI - The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2018 was 3.9 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the August rate of 4.0 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down six-tenths of a percentage point from the September 2017 rate of 4.5 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in September 2018, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down five-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 22,100, down 500 from August. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,800.

A total of 6,665 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in September 2018 *, down from 6,955 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 34.2 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 539,800, an increase of 200 from the August figure of 539,600. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 8,700 from September 2017 (531,100).

The RI labor force totaled 561,900 in September 2018, down 300 from August 2018 but up 6,000 from September 2017 (555,900). 

  Sept. 18 Aug. 18 Sept. 17
RI Unemployment Rate 3.9% 4.0% 4.5%
U.S. Unemployment Rate  3.7% 3.9% 4.2%
RI Job Count
(in thousands)
502.1 502.1 495.1


  • The RI unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from last month and down six-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago.
  • The number of RI-based jobs was unchanged from August, but up 7,000 from a year ago.
  • The number of employed RI residents increased by 200 over the month.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: In September, the number of Rhode Island-based jobs was unchanged from the August revised employment level of 502,100. Overall, Rhode Island’s job count is up 7,000 from September 2017.

The Manufacturing sector added 600 jobs in September, mainly due to job gains reported in the durable goods component. This was the highest over-the-month job gain in Manufacturing since December 2017, when 500 jobs were added to the sector. Through the robust growth in September, Manufacturing employment is up 1,300 from a year ago.

In addition, a gain of 600 jobs was also reported in the Professional & Business Services sector. The Professional & Business Services sector has added 1,100 jobs over the past two months, with 1,000 of them stemming from the Administrative & Waste subsector. Employment in the Professional & Business Services sector is up 2,400 from September 2017.

September job gains were also noted in the Educational Services (+300) and Construction (+200) sectors. Over the year, the number of jobs in the Construction sector is up 900, while the number of jobs in the Educational Services sector is up 600.

The number of jobs in both the Other Services and Mining & Logging sectors held steady from August.

Among the sectors which lost jobs in September, the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector reported a loss of 400 jobs from August, and a loss of 200 jobs from September 2017.

Coming off a gain of 500 jobs in August, employment in Retail Trade fell by 300 in September. Over the year, Retail Trade employment is down by 500.

Three employment sectors, Financial Activities, Information and Transportation & Utilities all lost 200 jobs in September. Over the year, the Financial Activities sector added 200 jobs, the Information sector lost 200 jobs and the Transportation & Utilities sector was unchanged.

Finally, the number of jobs in the Health Care & Social Assistance, Accommodation & Food Services, Wholesale Trade and Government sectors all fell by 100 in September. Over the year, employment is up in Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,400) and Accommodation & Food Services (+1,100), and down in Wholesale Trade (-500) and Government (-400).

MANUFACTURING: In September 2018, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.88 per hour, down fifty-three cents from August 2018, and down fourteen cents from September 2017.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.4 hours per week in September, down five-tenths of an hour over the month, but up three-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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