Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


October's Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since January
as Number of Working Rhode Islanders Continues to Grow

Donna Murray (401) 462-8751
Joyce D'Orsi (401) 462-8762
Labor Market Information
November 17, 2006

Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, announced today that Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October dropped 0.2 of a percentage point from September to 5.0 percent, the lowest jobless rate since January. In addition, the number of Rhode Island residents who were employed continued to grow, hitting a new record-high of 549,400 in October, while the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents declined by 1,400 over the month to 28,800. A year ago, the jobless level was 29,100 and the unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for October dipped to 4.4 percent, down from 4.6 percent in September and 4.9 percent a year ago. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for October remained above the national average.

Employment at Rhode Island businesses declined slightly (-100) last month, bringing the October job count to 493,800 (seasonally adjusted). Over-the-month job gains in Educational & Health Services (+800); Professional & Business Services (+500); Financial Activities (+100); and Construction (+100) were offset by employment declines in the Government (-800); Other Services (-300); Leisure & Hospitality (-200); and Manufacturing (-200) sectors.

"The drop in our unemployment rate for the second straight month combined with a new record-high resident employment level is certainly encouraging news. The increase of 700 private sector jobs over the month demonstrates that Rhode Island is continuing to build momentum in creating new jobs," said Director Orefice.
Employment gains in Educational & Health Services reflected additional hiring and the return of student workers to private colleges and universities. Job growth in Professional & Business Services can be partially attributed to gains in Employment Services, while job losses in Government are the result of employment declines at the local level.

Over the year, jobs were up 400 (+0.08%) from the 493,400 jobs reported in October 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Financial Activities (+2,300); Professional & Business Services (+1,300); Construction (+700); and Educational & Health Services (+600) sectors, offsetting losses in Leisure & Hospitality (-100); Other Services (-500); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-700); Government (-900); and Manufacturing (-1,700).

Hours and Earnings

In October 2006, the $13.55 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of ten cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of thirty-one cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in October, up 0.1 of an hour over the month and 0.5 of an hour since October 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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