Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.5 Percent (pdf)

October 13, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2010 was 11.5 percent, a decrease of three-tenth of a percentage point from the state’s August 2010 rate. This represents the seventh consecutive over-the-month decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, and the lowest rate since July 2009.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September, unchanged from August.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —decreased by 1,600 from August figures, dropping to 65,900. This decline marks the eighth straight over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 2,500, the first over-the-year decrease since May 2007.

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 33,902, down 3,396 19 (-9.1%) from the August average of 37,298.

The number of employed RI residents increased by 600 over the August figures, totaling 505,200 in September and ending three consecutive months of decreased. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 3,600, the seventh consecutive over-the-year increase.

The monthly decrease in the number of unemployed residents outweighed the increase in the number of employed residents, resulting in a total Rhode Island labor force of 571,000. This represents a decrease of 1,100 over August labor force figures but an increase of 900 over September 2009 figures.

In September, Rhode Island seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment totaled 450,900, a decrease of 1,000 from the revised August employment level of 451,900. All job declines were reported in the private sector, ending four consecutive months of private sector job growth. Government employment, however, increased by 500 jobs over the month.

Employment in Accommodation & Food Services fell by 1,100 over-the month, fueled by job losses in food services and drinking places. Construction employment fell sharply as well, shedding 500 jobs in September, with losses reported in construction of buildings and specialty trade contractors.

Smaller over-the-month losses were reported in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Manufacturing (-100), Wholesale Trade (-100) and Other Services (-100). Employment in Health Care & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, Transportation & Utilities and Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

Over-the-month gains occurred in five industry sectors—Government (500), Financial Activities (200), Educational Services (200), Professional & Business Services (100) and Information (100). Employment gains in Government, the sector with the greatest over-the-month growth, could be attributed to hiring in the public elementary, secondary and higher education systems.

September 2010 employment was down 5,200 (-1.1%) from September 2009, due to over-the-year job losses in several economic sectors including Retail Trade (-2,100), Accommodation & Food Services (-1,300), Manufacturing            (-1,200), Professional & Business Services (-1,200), Wholesale Trade (-900) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-700). Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Educational Services (-200) and Government (-100).

However, seven sectors—Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,100), Other Services (+500), Financial Activities (+300), Transportation & Utilities (+200), Information (+200), Construction (+100) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100)—added jobs over the year.  

MANUFACTURING: In September 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.83 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up six cents from August 2010 and up 60 cents from September 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.1 hours per week in September, up three-tenths of an hour from August, and up an hour and a half 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 19, 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.