Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.8 Percent (pdf)

September 17, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2010 was 11.8 percent, a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from the state’s July 2010 rate. This represents the sixth consecutive over-the-month decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, and the lowest rate since August 2009.

The U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.6 percent in August, up one-tenth of percentage point from July.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —decreased by 800 from July figures, dropping to 67,500. This decline marks the seventh straight over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 900.

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 August was 37,298, up 19 (0.05%) from the July average of 37,279.

The number of employed RI residents decreased 900 over the July figures, totaling 504,600 in August. This is the third consecutive month in which the number of employed RI residents decreased. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 2,800, the sixth 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 572,100, a decrease of 1,700 over July 2010 but an increase of 3,800 over August 2009 figures.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: In August, Rhode Island nonfarm payroll employment increased by 300 to 452,000 from the revised July employment level of 451,700. All job gains were in the private sector, marking four consecutive months of job growth in the private sector. Government employment remained unchanged.

Construction employment increased by 900 in August, with the largest gains occurring in specialty trade contractors, notably in foundation, structure and building exterior contractors. Health Care & Social Assistance added 400 jobs over the month, with growth reported in ambulatory health care services and in hospitals.

Transportation & Utilities, Financial Activities and Professional & Business services each added 300 jobs in August,while employment in Retail Trade employment added 200 jobs. Several sectors reported no change from July, including Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Other Services; Information; and Government.

Monthly job gains were offset by losses in four industry sectors: Manufacturing (-1,200), Accommodations & Food Services (-400), Educational Services (-300) and Wholesale Trade (-200). In Manufacturing, fewer-than-average seasonal shutdowns reported in July resulted in fewer-than-expected manufacturing workers returning to the payroll in August; this resulted in a seasonally adjusted job loss of 1,200 in that sector.

August 2010 employment was down 4,200 (-0.9%) from August 2009, with job declines reported in several economic sectors including Retail Trade (-2,100), Professional & Business Services (-1,400), Manufacturing (-1,300) and Wholesale Trade (-900). Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-500), Educational Services (-400), Government (-300), Information (-100) and Financial Activities (-100).

Six sectors—Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,200), Other Services (+700), Construction (+400), Transportation & Utilities (+400), Accommodation & Food Services (+100) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100)—added jobs over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.76 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up four cents from July 2010 and up 69 cents from August 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.9 hours per week in August, up four-tenths of an hour from July, and up an hour and six-tenths 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 September labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, October22, 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.