October Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 4.2 Percent;
November 16, 2017
The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2017 was 4.2 percent, unchanged from the September rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down nine-tenths of a percentage point from the October 2016 rate of 5.1 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in October 2017, down one-tenth 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 23,300, up 100 from the September figure of 23,200. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 5,100.
A total of 6,709 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in October 2017,* down from 7,051 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 31.5 percent of the total unemployed.
The number of employed RI residents was 531,200, down 800 from the September figure of 532,000. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 7,900 from October 2016.The RI labor force totaled 554,500 in October 2017, down 700 from September 2017 and up 2,800 from October 2016.
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: The October jobs report revealed that Rhode Island’s total nonfarm employment level of 495,800 was down 200 from the revised September employment level of 496,000. October marks three consecutive months of declines totaling 3,900 jobs. Overall, the number of jobs in Rhode Island is up 4,500 since the start of the year and up 4,600 from a year ago.
The Accommodation & Food Services sector continued to trend down in October, losing 700 jobs. Over the year, the number of jobs within the Accommodation & Food sector is up 1,200.
The number of jobs in the Educational Services sector also fell for the second time in two months. After losing 800 jobs in September, the sector lost another 500 in October. Employment within this sector is down 600 jobs from October 2016.
Three employment sectors, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Construction, and Wholesale Trade, were each down 200 jobs in October. Employment in both Construction and Wholesale Trade are up over the year, by 2,200 and 800 jobs, respectively, over the year, while the number of jobs in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation is down 200 from October 2016.
A loss of 100 jobs each was reported in the Government and Other Services sectors. Other Services employment is up 200 from a year ago, while Government employment is unchanged.
Offsetting October’s losses was a gain of 700 in Professional & Business Services and 600 jobs in Financial Activities. The number of jobs in Professional & Business Services is down 700 over the year, while the number of jobs in Financial Activities remains unchanged.
Rhode Island’s largest employment sector, Health Care & Social Assistance, was up 400 jobs from September and up 300 jobs from October 2016.
The Retail Trade sector reported a gain of 100 jobs in October. The number of jobs within this sector is up 200 over the year.
The number of jobs in the Information, Manufacturing, Mining & Logging and Transportation & Utilities sectors remained unchanged from September. Among these four sectors, Manufacturing employment is up 1,100 from a year earlier while the number of jobs in Transportation & Utilities is up 100. Employment in both the Information and Mining & Logging sectors remained even from a year ago.
MANUFACTURING: In October 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.28 per hour, up twenty-six cents from September 2017, and up $1.02 from October 2016.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.4 hours per week in October, up three-tenths of an hour over the month, and up nine-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 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 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’ October labor force data and job counts on November 17, 2017. DLT is scheduled to release the November 2017 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, December 21, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
*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.
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.