RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.3 Percent (pdf)

March 4, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2011 was 11.3 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the December rate of 11.5 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased four-tenths of a percentage point over the month to reach 9.0 percent.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 1,100 over revised December figures, falling to  65,100 in January. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 2,400.

Due to numerous eligibility requirements, the number of unemployed RI residents differs from the number of RI Unemployment Insurance recipients. The average weekly claim load for RI Unemployment Insurance benefits in January was 39,866, up 2,725 (7.3%) from the December average of 37,141, but down 6,217 (-13.5%) from the January 2010 average of 46,083.

The number of employed RI residents was unchanged from the revised December total of 511,100. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 6,700.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 576,200 in January 2011, a decrease of 1,100  over revised December figures and an increase of 4,300 over January 2010 figures.  The over-the month decrease in the January labor force is due to the drop in the number of unemployed residents.

Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 456,900 in January, reflecting a loss of 1,300 jobs from the revised December employment figure of 458,200. The job declines can be attributed to four private industry sectors which experienced large over-the-month employment decreases.

In January, the Health Care & Social Assistance sector reported a drop of 1,000 jobs.  About a third of the loss can be attributed to restructuring at some of the state’s hospitals which transferred jobs into the Professional & Business Services classification.  The ambulatory health care services, nursing & residential care facilities and social assistance subsectors contributed to the remainder of the over-the-month decline.

The Other Services sector shed 800 jobs from December, mainly due to job losses in repair and maintenance services. Employment losses at limited-service restaurants contributed to a drop of 700 jobs in Accommodation & Food Services, while cutbacks at live theater and spectator sports establishments and country clubs resulted in a loss of 500 jobs in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation. 

Smaller over-the-month declines were reported in the Manufacturing sector and Educational Services sector, with each losing 100 jobs in January. Employment remained unchanged in three sectors: Government, Information and Natural Resources & Mining.

Retail Trade employment was up 1,000 jobs in January, due to a decrease in seasonal layoffs. Job gains were also noted in the Professional & Business Services (+400), Construction (+200), Transportation & Utilities (+100), Wholesale Trade (+100) and Financial Services (+100) sectors.

January 2011 employment was down 600 (-0.1%) from January 2010, with job declines reported in seven economic sectors. Educational Services (-1,100), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-900), Construction (-900), Government (-800), Other Services (-700), Health Care & Social Assistance (-600) and Financial Activities         (-300) all reported annual employment declines. Manufacturing employment was unchanged over the year.

Retail Trade (+1,500), Professional & Business Services (+800), Accommodation & Food Services (+700), Information (+700), Wholesale Trade (+700), Transportation & Utilities (+200) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100) all experienced job growth over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In January 2011, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.89 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down four cents from December 2010 and up fifty-eight cents from January 2010. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.1 hours per week in January, down an hour and one-tenth over the month, but up one-tenth of an hour over the year.

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. The February labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, March 18, 2011.



The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Islandís 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.