September Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2 Percent
October 19, 2017
The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2017 was 4.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the August rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and one-tenth percentage points from the September 2016 rate of 5.3 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in September 2017, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down seven-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 23,200, down 500 from the August figure of 23,700. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 5,800.
A total of 6,955 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in September 2017,* down from 7,298 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 34.0 percent of the total unemployed.
The number of employed RI residents was 531,800, down 700 from the August figure of 532,500. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 8,600 from September 2016.
The RI labor force totaled 555,000 in September 2017, down 1,300 from August 2017 and up 2,800 from September 2016.
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: The September jobs report revealed that Rhode Island’s Total Nonfarm employment level of 495,100 was down 3,700 from the revised August employment level of 498,800. Overall, the number of jobs in Rhode Island is up 3,800 since the start of the year and up 4,500 from a year ago.
Employment in the Accommodation & Food Services sector fell sharply in September, shedding 1,500 jobs. Over the year, the number of jobs within the Accommodation & Food sector is up 2,600.
The number of jobs in the Educational Services sector fell by 800 in September, ending two consecutive months of job gains. This industry is showing a slight over-the-year gain of 100 jobs.
The Health Care & Social Assistance and Professional & Business Services sectors each lost 600 jobs over the month. Employment in Health Care & Social Assistance is up 400, while employment in Professional & Business Services is down 1,400 from a year ago.
Financial Activities employment fell by 500 from August, continuing its downward trend. The last job gain within this sector was reported in June. Since September 2016, the number of jobs in the Financial Activities sector is down 1,000.
A decrease of 400 jobs was reported in the Construction sector. The number of jobs in the Construction sector is up 2,200 since the start of the year and up 2,500 from a year ago.
September job losses were also reported in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-300), Manufacturing (-100) and Retail Trade (-100) sectors. The Manufacturing sector is the only sector among the three to report an increase over the year, up 1,100 jobs. Retail Trade employment is down 200 since September 2016, while Arts, Entertainment & Recreation employment is down 100 jobs.
On the positive side, the Other Services sector added 600 jobs in September, recouping most of the 800 jobs lost in August. Other Services employment is up 200 from a year ago.
The Government and Transportation & Utilities sectors round out the September job gains, growing by 400 and 200, respectively. Government employment is down 200 over the year, while Transportation & Utilities employment is up 100.
The number of jobs in the Information, Mining & Logging and Wholesale Trade sectors remained unchanged from August.
MANUFACTURING: In September 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.02 per hour, up ten cents from August 2017, and up fifty-eight cents from September 2016.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in September, down seven-tenths of an hour over the month, but up one-tenth 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 atwww.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. Additional information on procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS website atwww.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states’ September labor force data and job counts on October 20, 2017. DLT is scheduled to release the October 2017 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
About the RI Department of Labor and Training: The RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT) 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. DLT’s Business Workforce Center simplifies doing business in RI by coordinating job fairs, pre-screening applicants, and connecting employers with innovative methods to remain or become competitive.