Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Rhode Island Resident Employment Reaches a New High in July (pdf)

Donna Murray (401) 462-8751
Joyce D'Orsi (401) 462-8762

Labor Market Information
August 18, 2006

Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, announced today that the number of Rhode Island residents working last month reached an all-time high of 548.100. Also, Rhode Island's unemployment rate for July rose slightly to 5.6 percent as more people entered the labor market looking for work. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents edged up by 600 over the month to 32,500 in July. A year ago, the jobless level was 28,800 and the State's unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for July rose by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.8 percent. Compared to last year, the national jobless rate is down 0.2 of a percentage point. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for July remained above the national average.

Jobs at Rhode Island businesses increased by 400 (+0.1%) last month, bringing the July job count to 494,800 (seasonally adjusted). Much of the employment gain was the result of a stronger-than-expected July for the State's Manufacturing sector. Historically, Manufacturing employment experiences a significant decline in July due to numerous factory slowdowns occurring during the traditional July vacation period. Cutbacks this year were smaller than usual resulting in an over-the-month job gain of 1,200 in the Manufacturing sector. Employment increases also occurred in Financial Activities (+300), and Leisure & Hospitality (+100).

"The overall trend remains positive," said Director Orefice. "Rhode Island employers have added 4,000 jobs since January and the number of working Rhode Islanders, which has been rising for the past several months, reached a record-high level in July."

Educational & Health Services experienced a monthly loss of 700 workers, reflecting declines in private college and university employment and in local hospitals. Less significant losses occurred in Construction (-300); Government (-200); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-100); and Professional & Business Services (-100).

Over the year, jobs were up 1,600 (+0.3%) from the 493,200 jobs reported in July 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Financial Activities (+1,700); Construction (+1,100); Leisure & Hospitality (+1,100); and Professional & Business Services (+1,000) sectors, offsetting losses in Manufacturing (-800); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-700); Other Services (-700); and Government (-100).


Hours and Earnings


In July 2006, the $13.40 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly loss of nine cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of twenty-nine cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in July, down 0.4 of an hour over the month and 0.3 of an hour since July 2005.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data may not be additive and 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.

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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

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