Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.9 Percent (pdf)

August 20, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2010 was 11.9 percent, a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from the state’s June 2010 rate. This represents the fifth consecutive over-the-month decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, and the lowest rate since August 2009.

The U.S. unemployment rate in July remained at the June level of 9.5 percent.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —decreased by 1,000 from June figures, dropping to 68,300. This decline marks the sixth straight over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 3,700.

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 July was 37,279, down 250 (-0.7%) from the June average of 37,529.

The number of employed RI residents decreased 1,300 over the June figures, totaling 505,500 in July. This is the second consecutive month in which the number of employed RI residents decreased. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 3,500, the fifth consecutive over-the-year increase.

The monthly decrease in the number of unemployed residents coupled with the decrease in the number of employed residents resulted in a total Rhode Island labor force of 573,800, a decrease of 2,300 over June and an increase of 7,300 over July 2009 figures.

In July, Rhode Island nonfarm payroll employment reached 451,800, an increase of 600 from the revised June employment level of 451,200. Total private sector payroll grew by 1,500 over the month. However, Government sector employment fell 900, with a 600 drop in federal jobs and a 300 drop in local government employment.

Accommodation & Food Services added 900 jobs between June and July, as local eateries and lodging establishments continue to increase their payrolls. Manufacturing employment increased by 600 over the month, reflecting the reporting of fewer seasonal layoffs for July than normal. Retail Trade also added 600 jobs, due in part to the re-opening of some flood-affected businesses.

Job gains were also noted in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+400), Other Services (+400), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100) and Educational Services (+100). Employment remained unchanged in the Transportation & Utilities, Information and Natural Resources & Mining sectors.

Government employment declined by 900 in July. The federal government subsector reported a net loss of 600 jobs over the month, which included an 800 drop in temporary Census workers. Local governments shed 300 jobs last month, while state employment remained unchanged.

Also in July, the Financial Activities sector lost 700 positions, due mainly to losses in the insurance carriers and real estate subsectors. Professional & Business Services (-400), Construction (-300) and Wholesale Trade (-200) were the remaining sectors to report job declines between June and July.

July 2010 employment was down 5,600 (-1.2%) from July 2009, with job declines reported in several economic sectors including Retail Trade (-2,200), Professional & Business Services (-1,700), Manufacturing (-1,200), Construction (-800), Financial Activities (-700) and Wholesale Trade (-600). Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-400), Government (-300), Information (-200) and Educational Services (-100).

Five sectors—Accommodation & Food Services (+1,200), Health Care & Social Assistance (+600), Other Services (+600), Transportation & Utilities (+100) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100)—added jobs over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In July 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.70 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up one cent from June 2010 and up 22 cents from July 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in July, down six-tenths of an hour from June, and up two hours 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 20, 2010.


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.