Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


The Rhode Island Job Count Increases for the Eighth Straight Month
Jobless Rate Declines in May

Contact:Donna Murray (401) 462-8751
Robert Langlais
(401) 462-8767
Labor Market Information
June 17, 2005

"The Rhode Island labor market added jobs for the eighth straight month, which is certainly good news for job seekers," announced Department of Labor and Training Director Adelita S. Orefice. "The positive jobs report was accompanied by an increase in the number of working Rhode Islanders and a decline in our unemployment rate."

Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May dipped to 4.5 percent, reflecting a drop of two-tenths of a percentage point from April. The number of employed Rhode Island residents climbed by 3,900 over the month, posting its fifth consecutive increase, while the number of unemployed fell by 700 in May to 25,900. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, and the number of unemployed stood at 29,700. Nationally, the unemployment rate for May was essentially unchanged at 5.1 percent and was down from 5.6 percent a year earlier. Rhode Island's unemployment rate has remained below the national average since August 2001.

Rhode Island Job Highlights

Jobs at Rhode Island businesses increased by 1,300 (+0.3%) last month, bringing the May job count to 494,300 (seasonally adjusted). Over-the-month gains in Leisure & Hospitality (+500); Professional & Business Services (+400); Educational & Health Services (+300); Financial Activities (+300); Construction (+300); and Government (+100) offset losses reported in Manufacturing (-500) and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-400).

May's gain of 1,300 jobs marks the eighth consecutive month of employment gains and the largest increase since July 2004. Private sector employment showed continued growth as Professional & Business Services and Educational & Health Services each reported successive monthly job gains of eight and seven months, respectively. Leisure & Hospitality and Financial Activities each reported job gains in five of the last six months.

Over the year, employment was up 5,800 (+1.2%) from the 488,500 jobs reported in May 2004. The largest over-the-year gains were noted in Educational & Health Services (+2,900); Professional & Business Services (+2,700); Leisure & Hospitality (+2,300); Financial Activities (+1,000); and Construction (+900). Manufacturing (-2,400) and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-1,200) were the only two sectors to report yearly declines. Government employment increased by 200 jobs over the year.

Hours and Earnings

In May 2005, the $13.01 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly loss of three cents per hour and an over-the-year loss of five cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.9 hours a week in May, up 0.5 of an hour over the month, but down 0.2 of an hour from last year.

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 employment figures in the "Rhode Island Job Highlights" section 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 on our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi
The June labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, July 22, 2005.

- 30 -

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

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