Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


May Job Count Remains Stable; Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly (pdf)
    June 15, 2007

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced today that the total number of non-farm jobs in the state totaled 498,300 in May. The number of jobs in Rhode Island grew by 200 over the month, with small gains spread throughout many industry sectors.

"May represents the fourth straight month of job growth in Rhode Island," said Adelita Orefice, Director of the RI Dept. of Labor and Training. "In fact, Rhode Island jobs have increased in eight out of the last ten months."

In related news, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate crept up to 4.8 percent in May from 4.5 percent in April. This puts Rhode Island's unemployment rate at its highest level this year, and three-tenths of a point above the US unemployment rate for May.













The number of employed Rhode Island residents grew by 2,100 over the month to 551,900 in May and topped last May's total by 3,700. The number of unemployed residents rose by 1,600 last month to 27,500 but remains well below our year ago level of 29,900.

The number of jobs in May (498,300) represented a net job gain of 200 from April's revised job count of 498,100. Ocean State employment has grown by 2,400 jobs since the beginning of the year; last year's job gains were 2,000 for the same period.

From April to May of this year, employment gains of 300 each were noted in the Construction, Transportation & Utilities, and Health Care & Social Assistance sectors; gains of 200 each in Retail Trade and Financial Activities; and gains of 100 each in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Government.









The increase in Construction employment reflects the many construction projects underway throughout the state. Transportation & Utilities was influenced by growth in private transportation companies, while Health Care & Social Assistance employment increased due to gains in ambulatory health care services.

The month's gains were partially offset by job losses reported in Manufacturing (-700), Wholesale Trade (-400), Professional & Business Services (-100), and Accommodation & Food Services (-100). Within the manufacturing sector, job losses were felt most acutely in Non-Durable Goods industries (-500) with job declines reported in Chemical Manufacturing, Textiles and Food Manufacturing. Durable Goods (-200) industries reporting losses included Fabricated Metals (-100) and Computer & Electronics (-100).











Comparing May 2007 with May 2006, Rhode Island jobs were up 6,100, a 1.2 percent increase. The largest annual employment gains occurred in the Professional & Business Services (+1,900); Construction (+1,400); Financial Activities (+1,400); Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,400); and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,100) sectors.

Manufacturing employment experienced the largest over-the-year loss (-2,300) followed by Wholesale Trade (-200), Information (-200), and Government (-100).

Hours and Earnings

In May 2007, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.74 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 10 cents per hour from April and up 32 cents from a year ago. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.6 hours per week in May, up 1.4 hours over the month and up 0.5 of an hour since May 2006.

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.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data 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. Rhode Island Labor Market Information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. The June labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, July 20, 2007.


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 workforce is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and workplace 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 the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD (401) 462-8006