Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



Unemployment Rate Rises to 12.4 Percent (pdf)

July 17, 2009


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June reached 12.4 percent, an increase of three-tenths of a percent over the May rate of 12.1 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percent over the month to reach 9.5 percent in June, the highest level since August 1983. 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.

The number of employed RI residents totaled 499,000 in June, reflecting an increase of 1,400 from May and the first over-the-month increase in four months. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents fell 25,000.

In June, the number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—increased by 2,300 over the month to reach 70,700. From June 2008 to June 2009, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 27,200.

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 June was 37,005.

The count of Rhode Island nonfarm jobs totaled 462,900 in June, a decline of 900 jobs from May’s revised employment level of 463,800. Estimated job losses for the second quarter of 2009 (April-June) averaged 700 per month, compared with losses averaging 2,100 per month during the first quarter (January-March) of the year.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 600 jobs over the month as unfavorable weather conditions compounded the effects a struggling economy to lead to less seasonal hiring. Government employment also fell by 600 in June, mainly due to cutbacks at the local government level. Job losses over the month were also reported in Manufacturing (-300), Construction (-200), Transportation & Utilities (-100) and Wholesale Trade (-100).

Several sectors reported employment growth between May and June, including, Retail Trade (+300), Other Services (+200), Educational Services (+200), Professional & Business Services (+100), Financial Activities (+100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+100). Employment remained unchanged in Health Care & Social Assistance, Information and Natural Resources & Mining.

Between June 2008 and June 2009, job declines were reported in nearly all economic sectors with the local economy losing 19,800 (-4.1%) jobs during this period. Manufacturing (-5,200), Retail Trade (-2,900), Professional & Business Services (-2,800), Construction (-2,600), Government (-2,100) and Financial Activities (-1,000) reported the most significant annual employment declines. Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Wholesale Trade (-800), Information (-700), Transportation & Utilities (-600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-500), Other Services (-500), Accommodation & Food Services (-200) and Health Care & Social Assistance (-100).

Educational Services added 200 jobs over the year, while Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In June 2009, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.15 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up eighteen cents from May 2009 and up twenty-eight cents from June 2008. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.7 hours per week in June, up six-tenths of an hour over the month, but down an hour and two-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 July labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, August 21, 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 Islandís 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.