RI Department of Labor and Training
Job Vacancy Survey Reveals Positive Trends

November 9, 2010

In the summer of 2010, 8,106 jobs were vacant in Rhode Island, an increase of 2,158 vacancies over the previous year, according to a recent survey by the RI Department of Labor and Training’s Labor Market Information Unit.

This translates to a vacancy rate of 2.2 percent, or 2.2 job openings for every 100 jobs filled in Rhode Island during the summer of 2010. In general, a higher job vacancy rate translates to an improved chance for a Rhode Island job seeker to secure employment.  The 2010 data represents an improvement over the 2009 rate of 1.5 percent, and a return to the 2008 rate of 2.2 percent. As a comparison, Rhode Island’s pre-recessionary vacancy rate was 2.7 percent in 2006.

Director of Labor and Training Sandra M. Powell adds, “The promising increase in the job vacancy rate last summer also corresponds with higher percentages of job opportunities that were full-time and carried benefits.” In 2010, 69 percent of the surveyed vacancies offered health insurance, 65 percent provided vacation pay and 49 percent offered sick leave. In contrast, 45 percent of 2009 job vacancies offered health insurance, only 41 percent offered paid vacation and just 33 percent offered paid sick leave.

According to the survey, the percentage of job vacancies representing permanent positions increased for two years in a row, moving from 78 percent in 2008 to 82 percent in 2009 and to 87 percent in 2010. Similarly, the range of median hourly wages associated with Rhode Island jobs vacancies had increased for two years in a row. In 2008, that range was reported from $12.81/hour to $14.67/hour; the 2009 wage range was reported from $13.59/hour to $15.69/hour; and the 2010 wage range was reported from $15.22/hour to $17.08/hour.

While vacancies were reported in all industry sectors, the greatest number of unfilled positions occurred in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector (2,617 vacancies). According to the survey, vacancies in the Administrative & Waste Services sector doubled from 432 openings in 2009 to 972 openings in 2010.

Job vacancies reported in the 2010 survey were concentrated in four of the 23 major occupational groups: Healthcare Practitioner and Technical occupations, Healthcare Support occupations, Food Preparation & Serving-Related occupations and Community & Social Services occupations. Of these, Community & Social Services occupations reported this highest vacancy rate, reaching nearly 11 percent.

The Job Vacancy data is included in the soon-to-be released Rhode Island Employment Trends and Workforce Issues 2010, an annual publication researched and authored by the Department of Labor and Training’s Labor Market Information Unit. Up-to-date Labor Market Information data and an online library of publications are available at www.dlt.ri.gov.lmi.


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.