RI Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.4 percent in October 2014 (pdf)

November 20, 2014

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2014 dropped to 7.4 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the September 2014 rate and down two percentage points from the October 2013 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since May 2008. The unemployment rate is down one and nine-tenths percentage points since the beginning of the year.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in October 2014, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down one and four-tenths percentage points over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 40,900, down 1,400 from the September figure of 42,300. This represents the 15th consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since April 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 11,200.

A total of 8,866 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in October 2014,* down from 9,967 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 25.3 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 514,600, up 1,200 from the September figure of 513,400. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 14,700 from October 2013.

  Oct. 14 Sept. 14 Oct. 13
RI Unemployment Rate      7.4% 7.6%


U.S. Unemployment Rate    5.8% 5.9% 7.2%
RI Job Count (in thousands) 476.5 479.1



  • The RI unemployment rate declined to 7.4%, its lowest level since May 2008.
  • The number of RI-based jobs is down 2,600 from September 2014 and up 3,600 since October 2013.
  • The number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 1,400 over the month.
  • There were 8,866 individuals collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits in October.*

The RI labor force totaled 555,400 in October 2014, down 400 from September 2014 and up 3,400 from October 2013.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 476,500 in October, reflecting a loss of 2,600 jobs from the revised September employment estimate of 479,100.

An unprecedented decline of 1,200 jobs was reported in the Professional and Business Services sector, as large job declines were noted in landscaping services and smaller declines noted in employment services. The largest job loss ever within this sector was a loss of 1,400 jobs reported in April 1991.

Short-term building projects which began in September, wrapped up by October, resulted in a loss of 700 Construction jobs. Payroll declines reported in ambulatory health services led to a loss of 500 jobs in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector.

Five other employment sectors also reported job declines in October; Educational Services (-300), Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (-300), Wholesale Trade (-200), Information (-100) and Government (-100).                                  

Offsetting the October job losses were small gains reported in the Accommodation and Food Services (+400), Financial Activities (+300) and Transportation & Utilities (+100) sectors. Employment remained unchanged in the Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Other Services and Mining and Logging sectors.
Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 3,600, as job gains appeared in nine economic sectors, including Financial Activities (+1,400), Accommodation and Food Services (+1,200), Professional and Business Services (+700), Transportation and Utilities (+600), Construction (+300), Manufacturing (+300), Other Services (+200), Retail Trade (+100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100).
Employment in four sectors — Educational Services (-500), Wholesale Trade (-400), Government (-300) and Information (-100) — was down over the year. Employment in Health Care and Social Assistance and Mining and Logging remained unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In October 2014, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.98 per hour, up 12 cents from September 2014 and down one dollar and four cents from October 2013. Manufacturing production employees worked an average of 40.2 hours per week in October, up two-tenths of an hour over the month but down six-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 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 Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The November 2014 labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, December 18, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.


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.