RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 10.8 Percent (pdf)

July 22, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2011 was 10.8 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down eight-tenths of a percentage point from June 2010.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in June, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month but down three-tenths of percentage point from June 2010.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 700 over the May figures, falling to 61,300 in June, the 15th consecutive over-the-month decline. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 5,700, a decrease of 8.5 percent.

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 30,947, down 1,166 (-3.6%) from the May average of 32,113 and down 6,582 (-17.5%) from the June 2010 average of 37,529.

The number of employed RI residents decreased 2,000 over the May figures, totaling 505,700 in June. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was down 3,800 from June 2010.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 567,100 in June 2011, down 2,600 from May and down 9,400 from June 2010 estimates. The over-the-month decrease in the number of unemployed residents, combined with the decrease in the number of employed residents, caused the June labor force to drop to its lowest level since September 2009.

Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 462,400 in June, reflecting a loss of 1,500 jobs from the revised May employment estimate of 463,900. The May to June payroll decrease marks the end of four consecutive months of job gains in Rhode Island.

Employment in the Educational Services sector declined sharply in June with the loss of 1,900 jobs. Smaller over-the-month employment losses were reported in Professional & Business Services and Health Care & Social Assistance, with each shedding 400 jobs. Manufacturing (-300) and Financial Activities (-200) also reported job losses in June.

The decline Educational Services employment is attributed to large losses among the state’s private colleges and universities. Within Professional & Business Services, Employment Services which includes temporary help agencies was largely responsible for the loss. Job declines in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector were reflected in hospital and nursing & residential care facilities, while Manufacturing sector losses were in durable goods employment.

Offsetting the job losses were gains reported in the Construction (+700), Accommodation & Food Services (+700), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+200) and Other Services (+100) sectors. Job growth in the Construction sector was fueled by gains in the specialty trade contractors subsector. The addition of 700 jobs in the Construction sector marks the largest over-the-month gain within the sector since April 2005 (+800). Local restaurants and lodging establishments provided the employment boost in the Accommodation & Food Services sector.

Employment in the Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Information, Government and Natural Resources & Mining sectors remained unchanged over the month.

Over the year, employment was up 4,500 (+1.0%) from June 2010, with job gains reported in eight economic sectors. Retail Trade (+4,000) Accommodation & Food Services (+2,400), Information (+700), Health Care & Social Assistance (+600), Professional & Business Services (+500), Wholesale Trade (+500), Manufacturing (+400) and Other Services (+400) all reported over-the-year gains. Transportation & Utilities and Natural Resources & Mining employment remained even over the year.

Government employment was down 2,000 over the year, due to cutbacks of federal census workers and municipal employees. Educational Services (-1,900), Construction (-500), Financial Activities (-500) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) also reported over-the-year job losses.

MANUFACTURING: In June 2011, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $15.96 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 26 cents from May 2011 and up $1.27 from June 2010. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.7 hours per week in June, up a half-hour over the month, and up eight-tenths of an hour over the year.

METHODOLOGY: Beginning with the release of the March 2011 employment estimates, the production of State and metropolitan area estimates transferred from individual State Workforce Agencies to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Concurrent with the transition, the BLS implemented several methodological changes to standardize the estimation approach across states. While these changes will reduce the potential for statistical bias in state and metropolitan area estimates, they June increase the month-to-month variability of the estimates especially in smaller areas and states. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s Labor Market Information unit will continue to provide the BLS with information on local events that June affect the estimates, such as large layoffs or expansions at businesses not covered by the survey, and to disseminate and analyze the Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates for local data users. More detailed information on the changes to procedures for producing CES estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.

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 19, 2011.


ABOUT DLT: 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