Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Rhode Island's Unemployment Rate Increases Over the Month
Job Count Declines

Joyce D'Orsi
(401) 462-8762
Donna Murray
(401) 462-8751

October 21, 2005

Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Department of Labor and Training announced today that Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 5.6 percent. The September jobless rate was up 0.5 of a percentage point from the revised August rate of 5.1 percent. The number of unemployed residents rose by 3,200 over the month to 32,700 in September. A year ago, the jobless level was 28,100 and the unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for September climbed to 5.1 percent, reflecting an increase of 0.2 of a percentage point from August. Compared to a year ago, the national jobless rate declined 0.3 of a percentage point. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for September remained above the national average for the third straight month.

"Our unemployment rate has been trending upward mainly due to the continued expansion in our labor force, which reached a record high level in September," said DLT Director Adelita S. Orefice. "Compared to a year ago, Rhode Island's labor force has grown by more than 17,000 people. While Rhode Island businesses have added over 6,000 jobs in the past year, it has not been enough to absorb all of the new job seekers."

Rhode Island Job Highlights

The Rhode Island job count (seasonally adjusted) decreased in September, the second monthly employment decrease following ten successive months of increased employment. Businesses in the state reported a decline of 500 jobs, bringing the September job count to 495,100 (seasonally adjusted). Over-the-month employment losses were reflected in Manufacturing (-300), Government (-300), Financial Activities (-200), Professional & Business Services (-200), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-100). Educational & Health Services (+900) experienced a monthly gain. Construction and Leisure & Hospitality each remained even over the month.

Although employment experienced a slight drop in September, non-farm employment in the state is up by 4,000 (+0.8%) jobs since January 2005. During this nine-month period, the Educational & Health Services (+2,600), Leisure & Hospitality (+1,400), Construction (+600), and Professional & Business Services (+500) sectors reported the largest employment gains, while job losses were noted in Manufacturing (-1,800).

Employment was up 6,100 (+1.2%) from the 489,000 jobs reported in September 2004. The largest employment growth noted during this period occurred in the Educational & Health Services (+3,400), Leisure & Hospitality (+2,000), Professional & Business Services (+1,500) and Financial Activities (+1,100) sectors, offsetting over-the-year losses in Manufacturing (-2,100), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-600), and Government (-400).

Hours and Earnings

In September 2005, the $13.20 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of five cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of twenty-one cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.3 hours per week in September, up one hour over the month and down 0.3 of an hour since September 2004.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data may not be additive and is 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 employment figures in the "Rhode Island Job Highlights" section 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 work force is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and work place 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 our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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