Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Climbs to 11.1 Percent (pdf)

May 22, 2009

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April reached 11.1 percent, an increase of five-tenths of a percent over the revised March rate of 10.6 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose four-tenths of a percent over the month to reach 8.9 percent in April. Both the RI and U.S. unemployment rates are calculated through an estimating process that compares the number of unemployed residents to the total labor force.

In April, the number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—increased by 3,000 over the month to reach 62,600. From April 2008 to April 2009, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 22,300.

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 April was 41,582.

The number of employed RI residents totaled 500,800 in April, reflecting a decrease of 4,100 from the previous month. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents fell 27,700.


In Rhode Island, the April 2009 job count totaled 464,700, a decline of 300 jobs from March’s revised employment level of 465,000, loss since August 2008.  Rhode Island has lost 31,700 (-6.4%) jobs since its employment peak in January 2007 and 23,700
(-4.9%) jobs since the start of the national recession in December 2007.

In April, six private-sector industries—Manufacturing (-400) Accommodation & Food Services (-300), Retail Trade (-200), Financial Activities (-200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) and Educational Services (-100)  experienced over-the-month job losses. The largest loss, reported in the Manufacturing sector, was due to declines in the Durable Goods component of the sector.

Over-the-month job gains were reported in five sectors including Government (+500), whose gains were due to the temporary hiring of more than 500 federal government workers for the 2010 Census.  Other Services (+200), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100), Construction (+100) and Professional & Business Services (+100) also posted slight but positive gains. Wholesale Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Information and Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

From April 2008 to April 2009, RI jobs declined 20,100 (-4.3 %). Job declines occurred in nearly all economic sectors, with the most significant annual employment declines reported in Manufacturing (-5,100), Retail Trade     (-3,300), Professional & Business Services (-3,100), Construction (-2,900), Financial Activities (-1,400) and Government (-1,400). Smaller losses were noted Information (-600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-600), Other Services (-600), Wholesale Trade (-600), Accommodation & Food Services (-400) and Transportation & Utilities (-400).

Health Care & Social Assistance (+200) and Educational Services (+100) were the lone industries to report an over-the-year employment gain. Natural Resources & Mining employment remained unchanged over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In April 2009, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.81 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up one cent from March 2009 and down 11 cents from April 2008. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.6 hours per week in April, up two-tenths of an hour over the month, but down six-tenths 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 May labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, June 19, 2009.



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