RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Remains at 10.8 Percent (pdf)

August 19, 2011

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

The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in July, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down four-tenths of percentage point from July 2010.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 200 over the June figures, falling to 61,100 in July, the 16th consecutive over-the-month decline. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 5,600, a decrease of 8.4 percent.

The number of employed RI residents decreased 2,700 over the June figures, totaling 503,200 in July. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was down 6,500 from July 2010.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 564,400 in July 2011, down 2,900 from June and down 12,000 from July 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 July labor force to drop to its lowest level since April 2009.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 466,800 in July, reflecting a gain of 1,300 jobs from the revised June employment estimate of 465,500. This revised employment estimate reflected a previously unreported gain of 1,600 RI-based jobs in June, rather than the originally reported loss of 1,500 RI-based jobs. (The size of June’s jobs revision was unusually large due to the correction of a reporting error in the Educational Services sector.) In all, Rhode Island has now experienced six consecutive months of job growth, totaling 10,000 new RI-based jobs since January.

Employment in the Manufacturing sector increased sharply in July with the addition of 1,300 jobs. The Manufacturing sector had fewer seasonal layoffs than is typical for July, contributing to the seasonal adjustment increase. Nearly all of the increase was in durable goods manufacturing.

The Professional & Business Services sector added 600 jobs in July, fueled by growth in the employment services industry. Jobs in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector grew by 400 from June, as gains were reported in ambulatory health care services and social assistance. In addition, the Construction and Government sectors each added 300 jobs over the month. The Construction gains were posted in the specialty trade contractors subsector, while all the Government jobs were reported within the federal government branch. The number of workers in Transportation & Warehousing and Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

Offsetting the gains was a loss of 500 jobs reported in the Accommodation & Food Services sector, resulting from payroll cuts in food services and drinking places establishments. Also, Retail Trade shed 300 jobs, followed by Information (-200), Other Services (-200), Wholesale Trade (-100), Financial Activities (-100), Educational Services (-100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100).

Over the year, employment was up 6,900 (+1.5%) from July 2010, with job gains reported in nine economic sectors. Retail Trade (+3,300), Manufacturing (+1,600), Accommodation & Food Services (+1,400), Professional & Business Services (+1,400), Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,100), Other Services (+500), Information (+500), Wholesale Trade (+200) and Transportation & Utilities (+100) all reported over-the-year gains. Educational Services and Natural Resources & Mining employment remained even over the year.

Government employment was down 1,900 over the year, primarily in local government, followed by Financial Activities (-700), Construction (-300) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-300).

MANUFACTURING: In July 2011, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $16.61 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 62 cents from June 2011 and up $1.89 from July 2010. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.1 hours per week in July, down three-tenths of an hour over the month, and up six-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 may 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 may 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 August labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, September 16, 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