Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Remains at 12.7 Percent (pdf)


March 19, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2010 was 12.7 percent, unchanged from the state’s January 2010 rate. The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, unchanged from the January 2010 level.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —decreased by 100 over the January figures, dropping to 73,200. This small decline marks the first over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed since February 2007. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents is up by 17,600.

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 February was 46,404, up 321 (0.7%) from the January average of 46,083.

The number of employed RI residents increased 1,600 over the January figures, totaling 505,000 in February. This is the second consecutive month in which the number of employed RI residents has increased. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased by 2,500.

The monthly increase in the number of employed residents outweighed the decrease in the number of unemployed residents, resulting in a total Rhode Island labor force of 578,200, an increase of 1,500 over January and an increase of 15,000 over February 2009 figures.

Rhode Island nonfarm payroll employment totaled 453,600 in February, a gain of 400 jobs from the revised January employment level of 453,200. This marks two consecutive months of job gains in the Ocean State.

In February, the Accommodation & Food Services sector added 800 jobs as employment gains were reported in full-service and limited-service restaurants. Layoffs in the Retail Trade sector were weaker than normal in February following light holiday hiring, resulting in a seasonal gain of 500 jobs.

Small positive gains were also reported in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+300), Transportation & Utilities (+200), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100) and Other Services (+100) sectors.

Two sectors, Educational Services and Professional & Business Services, reported large employment losses over the month, losing 700 and 600 jobs, respectively. The loss in Educational Services can be attributed to less hiring of student workers at public colleges and universities. Several fields within Professional & Business Services reported over-the-month job losses, including landscaping services, temporary help services, janitorial services and waste collection services.

In addition, employment was down in the Wholesale Trade, Information and Natural Resources & Mining sectors, with each industry reporting a loss of 100 jobs in February. Employment in Construction, Manufacturing, Financial Activities and Government remained unchanged.

In Rhode Island, February 2010 employment was down 13,000 (-2.8%) from February 2009, with job declines reported in several economic sectors, including Manufacturing (-3,200), Professional & Business Services (-2,400), Retail Trade (-2,100), Construction (-1,800), Financial Activities (-1,300), Government (-1,200) and Wholesale Trade (-1,100). Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Transportation & Utilities (-400), Information (-400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-300) and Educational Services (-200).

Health Care & Social Assistance (+800) and Accommodation & Food Services (+600) added jobs over the year. Employment in Other Services and Natural Resources & Mining remained even.

MANUFACTURING: In February 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.40 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up nine cents from January 2010 and up thirty-one cents from February 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.2 hours per week in February, down eight-tenths of an hour over the month, but up two-tenths of an hour over the year.


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 March labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, April 16, 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