Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Job Count in Rhode Island Edges Up for Second Month in a Row
The Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

Joyce D'Orsi (401) 462-8762
Donna Murray (401) 462-8757
Labor Market Information
April 21, 2006

Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, announced today that Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5.1 percent, unchanged from February. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents edged up by 300 over the month to 29,300 in March. A year ago, the jobless level was 28,300 and the State's unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for March inched down 0.1 of a percentage point to 4.7 percent. Compared to last year, the national jobless rate is down 0.4 of a percentage point. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for March was above the national average.

Jobs at Rhode Island businesses increased by 400 (+0.1%) last month, bringing the March job count to 493,100 (seasonally adjusted). Slight job growth was reported in several economic sectors including Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+400), Financial Activities (+200), Educational & Health Services (+200), Leisure & Hospitality (+200) and Manufacturing (+100).

"Labor market conditions in Rhode Island showed little change in March. Our unemployment rate held steady, while the overall job count showed a modest increase with small gains spread among several industry sectors," said Director Orefice. "With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, we're optimistic that employers will begin adding workers to their payrolls."

The Professional & Business Services sector reported a drop of 400 jobs in March, due mainly to smaller-than-usual gains in Administrative & Waste Services. A decline of 300 positions in the Government sector is attributed to employment losses at the Local level. Minor losses were also noted in Construction (-100) and Other Services (-100).

Over the year, total employment was up 3,100 (+0.6%) from the 490,000 jobs reported in March 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Educational & Health Services (+2,300), Financial Activities (+1,600), Construction (+1,500), and Professional & Business Services (+1,400) sectors, offsetting over-the-year losses in Manufacturing (-2,000), Other Services (-800), Leisure & Hospitality (-400), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-200), and Government (-100).

Hours and Earnings


In March 2006, the $13.46 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of twelve cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of forty-seven cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.0 hours per week in March, up 0.1 of an hour over the month and 1.1 hours since March 2005.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data may not be additive and are subject to revision.

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.

The establishment employment figures are derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measure the number of jobs in the state.

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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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