Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


RI Jobs Decline by 500; Unemployment Rate Climbs to 7.5 Percent (pdf)

July 18, 2008

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s June 2008 monthly job count totaled 482,200, a decline of 500 from May’s revised employment level of 482,700. June marks the sixth consecutive month of job losses for both Rhode Island and the United States.

The RI seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued to trend upward in June, rising to 7.5 percent, its highest level since November 1993 (7.5%). The national jobless rate held at 5.5 percent.

In June, the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents—those residents who classify themselves as available for and actively seeking employment—grew to 42,600, representing a monthly increase of 1,400 and the highest jobless level since May 1993 (42,700). On a year-over-year comparison, the number of unemployed residents increased 13,800 from June 2007 to June 2008.

On a related note, the number of employed RI residents totaled 529,500 in June 2008, reflecting a drop of 900 from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, the number of employed RI residents fell 19,700 between June 2007 and June 2008.

Over the month, small employment losses were reported in a number of industry sectors. Job cutbacks of 200 each were reported in the Transportation & Utilities, Financial Activities, Educational Services, Other Services and Government sectors, while the Retail Trade, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Accommodation & Food Services sectors each lost 100 jobs.

This month’s employment decline was slightly offset by gains of 200 each in the Construction, Wholesale Trade and Professional & Business Services sectors and gains of 100 each in the Information and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors. Employment remained unchanged in the Natural Resources & Mining and Manufacturing sectors.         

Job losses in the Educational Services sector were largely the result of declines at the state’s private colleges following the conclusion of the spring semester. Declines in the Other Services sector were primarily attributed to reductions in personal services employment. Within Financial Activities, employment losses were noted in the Real Estate, Rental & Leasing sector. Government employment was down on both the state and local levels.

From June 2007 to June 2008, RI jobs declined 11,900, a 2.4 percent decrease. The largest annual employment losses occurred in the Manufacturing (-2,800), Professional & Business Services (-2,300), Retail Trade (-1,900), Financial Activities (-1,700), and Other Services (-1,200) sectors. Smaller losses were noted in Construction (-900); Transportation & Utilities (-500); Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-400); Accommodation & Food Services (-400); Government (-300); Wholesale Trade (-200) and Natural Resources & Mining (-100).

Just three sectors experienced over-the-year gains. The Information sector reported the largest over-the-year gain (+500), followed by Educational Services (+200) and Health Care & Social Assistance (+100).

In June 2008, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.90 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down three cents from May and down 2 cents per hour from a year ago. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.8 hours per week in June, up 0.2 of an hour over the month and down six-tenths of an hour since June 2007.


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 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 15, 2008.


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.