Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



Rhode Island's Job Trend Remains Positive; Unemployment Rate Shows Little Change (pdf)

    September 21, 2007
  The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training announced today that the total number of seasonally adjusted, non-farm jobs in the state reached 499,600 in August, up 300 jobs from the previous month. This represents the seventh consecutive month of job growth in Rhode Island.

"Jobs in Rhode Island have increased 1.3 percent in a year's time," says Director of Labor and Training Adelita Orefice. "This puts us slightly ahead of our neighbors in terms of workforce expansion." While August data for neighboring states are not yet available, July data show a job growth rate of 1.1 percent in Connecticut and 1.2 percent in Massachusetts.

Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate crept up a tenth of a percentage point from 5.0 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August. The national unemployment rate held steady at 4.6 percent last month.

The number of unemployed RI residents in August stood at 28,800, down 100 from July's level of 28,900 and down 900 from last year's level of 29,800. The number of employed Rhode Islanders fell by 3,400 over the month to 542,100 in August 2007 and was down 5,200 from August 2006.

The number of jobs in August represented a net job gain of 300 from July's revised job count of 499,300. Ocean State employment has grown by 3,700 jobs since the beginning of the year, which surpassed last year's job gain of 3,200 for the same eight months.

From July to August of this year, an employment gain of 500 was noted in the Professional & Business Services sector. Additional gains of 200 in the Transportation & Utilities sector, and an increase of 100 each in the Wholesale Trade, Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, Accommodation & Foods Services, and Government sectors were also observed.

The increase in Professional & Business Services employment was reflected in Temporary Help Agencies;

Janitorial Services; Advertising & Related Services; Architectural, Engineering & Related Services; and Remediation Services.

The month's gains were partially offset by job losses of 300 each in the Manufacturing and Retail Trade sectors; a loss of 200 in the Financial Activities sector; and a loss of 100 in the Construction sector.

From August 2006 to August 2007, RI jobs grew 6,200, a 1.3 percent increase. The largest annual employment gains occurred in the Professional & Business Services (+2,700); Construction (+1,100); Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,000); Educational Services (+700) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+700) sectors.

Manufacturing employment experienced the largest over-the-year loss (-1,200), followed by small declines in Government (-300), and Wholesale Trade (-200).

Hours and Earnings

In August 2007, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.94 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 3 cents per hour from July and up 51 cents per hour from a year ago. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.5 hours per week in August, up 0.9 of an hour over the month and up 0.4 of an hour since August 2006.

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.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data 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. 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, October 19, 2007.