Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Remains at 12.7 Percent (pdf)


March 5, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2010 was 12.7 percent, unchanged from the state’s revised December 2009 rate.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased three-tenths of a percentage point over the month to reach 9.7 percent.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —increased by 500 over revised December figures, reaching a January total of 73,300. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 19,200.

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 46,083, up 4,653 (11.2%) from the December average of 41,430.

The number of employed RI residents increased 2,000 over revised December figures, totaling 503,300 in January. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased by 6,800.

The monthly increase in the number of employed residents, combined with the increase in the number of unemployed residents, resulted in a total Rhode Island labor force of 576,600, an increase of 2,500 over revised December figures and an increase of 12,400 over January 2009 figures.

RI Seasonally Adjusted Establishment EmploymentJOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND:
Rhode Island nonfarm payroll employment totaled 452,700 in January, a gain of 800 jobs from the December revised employment total.

In January, a seasonal gain of 1,000 jobs in Accommodation & Food Services occurred and can be attributed to fewer than expected employment declines for January. The same fact holds true in the Professional & Business Services sector, which added 700 jobs in January. Smaller but positive gains were also experienced in the Other Services (+300), Manufacturing (+100) and Financial Activities (+100) sectors.                                                                            

Four sectors—Wholesale Trade, Construction, Transportation & Utilities and Retail Trade—reported job declines in January. Wholesale Trade showed a loss of 500 jobs, with merchant wholesalers of nondurable goods reporting notable job losses over the month. Construction employment was down 400, as losses were reported in the Heavy & Civil Engineering Construction and Specialty Trade Contractor fields. Transportation & Utilities (-300) and Retail Trade (-200) also experienced employment declines in January.

Employment in Educational Services, Health Care & Social Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Information, Government and Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged over the month.

January 2010 employment was down 16,100 (-3.4%) from January 2009, with job declines reported in nearly all economic sectors. Manufacturing (-4,700), Retail Trade (-2,700), Professional & Business Services (-2,100), Construction (-2,100), Financial Activities (-1,400), Government (-1,200) and Wholesale Trade (1,100) reported the most significant annual employment declines. Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Transportation & Utilities (-700), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-600), Information (-500), Accommodation & Food Services (-200) and Other Services (-100).

Health Care & Social Assistance (+900) and Educational Services (+400) added jobs over the year. Employment in Natural Resources & Mining remained even.

Seasonally Adjusted Non-farm Employment in RI
MANUFACTURING: In January 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.31 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down ten cents from December 2009 and up thirty-two cents from January 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.2 hours per week in January, down two-tenths of an hour over the month, but up seven-tenths of an hour over the year.

Annual Benchmark Revisions:
The RI Department of Labor and Training’s Labor Market Information Unit provides establishment employment estimates based on a monthly survey of 1,500 employers, through methodology prescribed by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Once a year, the sample-based employment estimates are replaced by actual quarterly tax records in a process referred to as “benchmarking.” This year’s annual benchmarking process replaced employment estimates from April 2008 through September 2009 with actual tax records. Employment estimates for October through December 2009 were recalculated based on the benchmark data. Included with the release of the January estimates are revised unadjusted establishment employment for 2008 and 2009 and revised seasonally adjusted employment counts for 2005 to 2009. Labor force statistics are also benchmarked in each year to reflect these revised job counts, as well as new population estimates and claims data. 


Benchmarked unemployment rates show that the highest unemployment rate in 2009 was 12.7 percent in December, never reaching the 13.0 percent originally estimated for September 2009. Unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to smooth out the monthly volatility, thereby better reflecting the overall trend in the state.

2009 Unemployment Rates (seasonally adjusted)



December Non-farm Employment in RIThe benchmark process revealed that in December 2009, the state had with 1,900 fewer jobs than originally estimated and that in December 2008, it had 1,300 more jobs. The December 2009 revised employment count was 451,900, down 20,600 from the revised December 2008 job count of 472,500. From the January 2007 employment peak (496,500) to December 2009, the state has lost 44,600 (-9.0%) jobs, 2,000 more than originally reported and just 400 less than the 45,000 (-9.7%) job loss experienced during the 1990-1991 recession.

The sectors which experienced the largest downward revisions in December 2009 as a result of the benchmarking process were Financial Activities (-1,900), Manufacturing (-1,600), Construction (-700) and Leisure & Hospitality (-700). Offsetting the downward revisions were positive revisions in the Education & Health Services (+2,200), Government (+400) and Other Services (+300) sectors.

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 19, 2010.

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