Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


More Rhode Islanders Working in September 2006 Than Ever Before
Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since March
Number of Jobs Increases Over the Month

Donna Murray
(401) 462-8751 Labor Market Information
October 20, 2006

Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, announced today that the number of residents who were employed in the state hit a record high of 548,800 in September 2006. Also, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for September dropped 0.4 of a percentage point to 5.2 percent from the August estimate of 5.6 percent. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents declined by 2,200 over the month to 30,200 in September, while resident employment hit a new record-high level of 548,800. A year ago, the jobless level was 29,000 and the unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for September inched down 0.1 of a percentage point to 4.6 percent. Compared to last year, the national jobless rate is down 0.5 of a percentage point. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for September remained above the national average.

"We're pleased to report that the number of working Rhode Islanders has hit a new record-high level, and that our unemployment rate, estimated at 5.2 percent in September, fell to its lowest level since March," said Director Orefice. "

Jobs at Rhode Island businesses increased by 500 (+0.1%) last month, bringing the September job count to 494,200 (seasonally adjusted). Over-the-month job gains in Educational & Health Services (+800); Financial Activities (+200); Professional & Business Services (+200); and Other Services (+100) offset job losses reported in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-500); Government (-300); Construction (-100); Manufacturing (-100); and Leisure & Hospitality (-100).

The monthly gain of 800 workers noted in Educational & Health Services reflected additional hiring in private educational institutions as they begin the fall semester. Job losses in Trade, Transportation & Utilities employment were the result of cutbacks reported in retail trade.

Over the year, jobs were up 1,900 (+0.4%) from the 492,300 jobs reported in September 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Financial Activities (+2,300); Professional & Business Services (+1,200); Construction (+1,100); Leisure & Hospitality (+500); and Educational & Health Services (+100) sectors, offsetting losses in Manufacturing (-1,600); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-800); Other Services (-300); and Government (-200).


Hours and Earnings


In September 2006, the $13.55 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of twelve cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of thirty-five cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in September, up 0.2 of an hour over the month and down 0.1 of an hour since September 2005.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data may not be additive and 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.

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The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's workforce is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and workplace health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.

DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.

For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at

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