Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


RI Jobs Down by 700; Unemployment Rate Remains Stable (pdf)

May 16, 2008


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s April 2008 monthly job count was 484,500, a decline of 700 from March’s revised employment level of 485,200. April marks the fourth consecutive month of job losses for both Rhode Island and the United States.

The RI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April remained at the March level of 6.1 percent. The national jobless rate, however, inched down 1/10th of a percentage point over the month to reach 5.0 percent in April.

In April, the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents—those residents who classify themselves as available for and actively seeking employment—edged down to 34,800, a drop of 300 from March. On a year-over-year comparison, the number of unemployed residents increased 6,300 from April 2007 to April 2008.

On a related note, the number of employed RI residents increased for the first time since September 2007. Resident employment totaled 538,300 in April 2008, reflecting an increase of 600 from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, the number of employed RI residents fell 9,100 between April 2007 and April 2008.

Over the month, employment losses were reported in a number of industry sectors with the largest in the Other Services (-400), Government (-300) and Manufacturing (-200) sectors. Job losses of 100 each were reported in the Construction, Wholesale Trade, Financial Activities, and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors.

This month’s employment loss was slightly offset by a gain of 300 jobs in the Transportation & Utilities sector, along with gains of 100 each in the Information, Professional & Business Services and Accommodation & Food Services sectors. Employment remained unchanged in the Retail Trade, Educational Services, and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors.

Job losses in the Other Services sector were the result of reductions in personal services and civic organization employment.  Reductions in Government employment were reported in both public education and local government.  The Manufacturing sector experienced declines in both Durable and Non-Durable Goods employment.                                   

From April 2007 to April 2008, RI jobs declined 8,800, a 1.8 percent decrease. The largest annual employment losses in Rhode Island occurred in the Manufacturing (-2,700), Professional & Business Services (-2,000), Financial Activities (-1,700), Construction (-1,000), and Retail Trade (-1,000) sectors. Smaller losses were noted in Other Services (-700); Government (-600); Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-400); Wholesale Trade (-300) and Natural Resources & Mining  (-100).

Educational Services employment experienced the largest over-the-year gain (+600). Other gains were noted in Health Care & Social Assistance (+500), Information (+400), Transportation & Utilities (+100) and Accommodation & Food Services (+100).

In April 2008, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.92 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down one cent from March and up 28 cents per hour from a year ago. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.4 hours per week in April, up 0.1 of an hour over the month and up 0.2 of an hour since April 2007.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. 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. Rhode Island labor market information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. The May labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, June 20, 2008.



About the RI Department of Labor and Training
The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island's 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.