Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Rhode Island's Unemployment Rate Declines in January (pdf)

The Number of Jobs Increases Over the Month

March 2, 2005

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Adelita S. Orefice announced today that Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 4.4 percent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from December's revised estimate of 4.8 percent. The January unemployment rate is the lowest since April 2001. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents fell by 1,900 in January to 24,800. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, and the number of unemployed stood at 30,600. Nationally, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.2 percent in January from 5.4 percent in December. Rhode Island's unemployment rate has remained below the national average since August 2001.

"The Rhode Island labor market improved in January as our unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent and the number of jobs in the state increased for the fourth straight month," said Director Orefice. "We're encouraged to see that Rhode Island businesses are adding jobs and we're hoping to sustain this momentum throughout 2005."

Rhode Island Job Highlights

Rhode Island businesses added 1,300 (+0.3%) jobs last month, bringing the January job count to 491,500 (seasonally adjusted). Over-the-month employment gains in Financial Activities (+600); Educational & Health Services (+500); Professional & Business Services (+400); Government (+300); and Leisure & Hospitality (+200) offset job losses reported in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-400) and Construction (-200). Manufacturing employment remained unchanged over the month.

January's gain of 1,300 jobs marks the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the state. Private sector employment showed continued growth, as Professional & Business Services and Educational & Health Services each maintained successive monthly job gains of four months and three months, respectively. Leisure & Hospitality as well as Financial Activities have each recorded monthly employment increases for two consecutive months. Manufacturing remained stable in January following two months of job declines. Construction posted a decline this month, following three months of job gains. Trade, Transportation & Utilities was the only sector to record a continued monthly decline, losing jobs in each of the last three months.

Over the year, employment was up 5,600 (+1.2%) from the 485,900 jobs reported in January 2004. The largest gains were noted in Professional & Business Services (+2,700); Educational & Health Services (+2,500); Leisure & Hospitality (+1,400) and Financial Activities (+1,000). The largest private sector employment losses occurred in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-1,900) and Manufacturing (-700). Government employment increased by 100.

Hours and Earnings

The $13.05 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers in January 2005 represented a yearly gain of ten cents and a monthly loss of seven cents per hour. In January 2005, Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.9 hours per week, a decrease of 1.0 hour over the month and a decline of 1.6 hours from last year.

Note: 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.

With the release of the January data, unemployment rates and the related labor force, employment, and unemployment estimates are based on improved modeling procedures. Prior years (back to 1976) have also been revised using the new models.

The improved models:
· reduce the size of end-of-year revisions and result in better year-over-year comparisons;
· directly produce seasonally adjusted estimates, which is currently an external process;
· and control not seasonally adjusted state estimates to sum to the national labor force totals.
For more information on the redesigned models, visit www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/laus/redesignqa.htm.
The employment figures in the "Rhode Island Job Highlights" section are derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measure the number of jobs in the state. With the release of the January data, the seasonally adjusted jobs figures for 2000-2004 reflect changes due to the annual benchmark revision process.
Rhode Island Labor Market Information is available on our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi

The February labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, March 18, 2005.

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The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's work force is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and work place health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.
DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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TDD (401) 462-8006