Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Rises to 13.0 Percent (pdf)

October 16, 2009


The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September reached 13.0 percent, an increase of two-tenths of a percentage point over the August rate of 12.8 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 9.8 percent in September.

The number of employed RI residents decreased 3,900 over the month, totaling 496,400 in September. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents fell 22,800.

In September, the number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—increased by 800 over the month to reach 74,000. From September 2008 to September 2009, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 25,600.

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 September was 35,718 down 3,210 (8.0%) from the August average of 38,928.

In Rhode Island, the September 2009 job count totaled 458,700, a decline of 2,800 jobs from the August revised employment level of 461,500. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 29,700.

In September, employment declined by 1,000 in the Accommodation & Food Services sector, the largest over-the month decrease experienced by this sector since the recession began. Larger than usual seasonal losses reported by both Full Service and Limited Service Restaurants contributed to the job loss. Large job declines were also reported in the Professional & Business Services (-700) sector, as many components of the sector reported employment losses, including Engineering Services, Architectural Services and Landscaping Services. 

Other employment losses between August and September were reported in Manufacturing (-600), Health Care & Social Assistance (-400), Retail Trade (-400), Other Services (-400), Transportation & Utilities (-200), Wholesale Trade (-100), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) and Construction (-100).   

Government employment increased by 1,100 over the month, as the educational services component of local government reported large employment gains.  Educational Services employment (+100) in the private sector was up as well in September, while Financial Activities, Information, and Natural Resources & Mining employment remained unchanged.

Between September 2008 and September 2009, job declines were reported in nearly all economic sectors, resulting in an overall loss of 21,600 (-4.5%) jobs during this period. Manufacturing (-5,400), Professional & Business Services (-3,500), Construction (-3,200) and Retail Trade (-2,900) reported the most significant annual employment declines. Smaller, but still significant over-the-year losses were noted in Wholesale Trade (-1,000), Financial Activities (-900), Other Services (-900), Government (-800), Health Care & Social Assistance (-800), Information (-800) and Accommodation & Food Services (-700).  Employment in Transportation & Utilities and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation was down 500 and 300, respectively, over-the-year.

Educational Services (+100) was the lone sector to add jobs over-the-year, while employment in Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In September 2009, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.28 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up twenty-one cents from August 2009 and up thirty-two cents from September 2008. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.3 hours per week in September, up one-tenth of an hour over the month, but down an hour and four-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 October labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, November 20, 2009.

About the RI Department of Labor and Training

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.