Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Job Count in Rhode Island Reaches an All-Time High in April (pdf)

Donna Murray (401) 462-8751
Joyce D'Orsi (401) 462-8762
Labor Market Information
May 19, 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 April was 5.4 percent, reflecting a gain of 0.3 of a percentage point from March. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents increased by 1,800 over the month to 31,100 in April, while the number of employed residents grew by 2,000. A year ago, the jobless level was 28,400 and the State's unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for April held steady at 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 April remained above the national average.

Jobs at Rhode Island businesses reached an all-time high as employment increased by 1,800 (+0.4%) last month, bringing the April job count to 495,000 (seasonally adjusted). Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+900) reported the largest job gain over the month, followed by Professional & Business Services (+400), Construction (+300), Financial Activities (+300) and Government (+100). Job losses were noted in Manufacturing (-400), Educational & Health Services (-300) and Leisure & Hospitality (-100). Other Services employment remained unchanged over the month.

"The number of jobs in Rhode Island increased for the third straight month, reaching a record-high level of 495,000 in April. I am particularly pleased that the overall job growth trend continues to be so strong," said Director Orefice. "Since job growth numbers will always go up and down on a monthly basis, we must keep in mind that the overall trend is what counts. In Rhode Island, that job growth trend has been very positive, and we are confident that we will continue to grow jobs in the Ocean State."

The increase of 900 jobs in the Trade, Transportation & Utilities sector is mainly due to above-average gains in Retail Trade and Transportation & Warehousing. Professional & Business Services experienced a monthly increase of 400 workers, reflecting increased employment in Administrative & Waste Services. Employment gains in Specialty Trade Contractors pushed Construction employment to an all-time high of 23,000 workers in the state.

Over the year, total employment was up 3,300 (+0.7%) from the 491,700 jobs reported in April 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Educational & Health Services (+1,800), Professional & Business Services (+1,600), Financial Activities (+1,500), Construction (+1,200), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+400), and Government (+100) sectors, offsetting over-the-year losses in Manufacturing (-2,200), Other Services (-700), and Leisure & Hospitality (-400).


Hours and Earnings

In April 2006, the $13.52 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of six cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of forty-eight cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.6 hours per week in April, down 1.0 hour over the month and 0.8 of an hour since April 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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