Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Rhode Island's Unemployment Rate Drops in October
The Number of Jobs Declines Slightly

Contact: Donna Murray
Labor Market Information
(401) 462-8751
November 18, 2005

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 was 5.4 percent. The October jobless rate fell 0.3 of a percentage point from September's revised rate of 5.7 percent. The number of unemployed residents declined by 1,900 over the month to 31,300 in October. A year ago, the jobless level was 27,600 and the unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for October eased to 5.0 percent, a drop of 0.1 of a percentage point from September. Compared to a year ago, the national jobless rate is down 0.5 of a percentage point. Rhode Island's unemployment rate for October stayed above the national average for the fourth straight month.

"The number of jobs in Rhode Island has declined recently as businesses have been reluctant to add new workers in these uncertain times," said DLT Director Adelita S. Orefice. "Now that energy prices have begun to drop, we're hopeful that employer hiring will pickup as we enter the holiday season."

Rhode Island Job Highlights

The Rhode Island job count (seasonally adjusted) declined in October, the third monthly decrease following ten successive months of increased employment. Businesses in the state reported a reduction of 600 (-0.1%) jobs, bringing the October job count to 494,700. Over-the-month employment losses were reflected in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-300), Government (-200), Professional & Business Services (-100), and Leisure & Hospitality (-100). Monthly gains were noted in Educational & Health Services (+300), Construction (+200), and Manufacturing (+100). Financial Activities remained even over the month.

Nationally, payroll employment showed little change in October, reflecting a small seasonally adjusted increase of 56,000 (0.04%) from September. Job gains were reported in Construction, Financial Activities, Manufacturing, Professional & Business Services, Educational & Health Services, and Government. Job losses were noted in Leisure & Hospitality, and Trade, Transportation & Utilities.

Employment in Rhode Island was up 5,500 (+1.1%) from the 489,200 jobs reported in October 2004. The largest employment growth noted during this period occurred in the Educational & Health Services (+3,900), Leisure & Hospitality (+1,600), and Financial Activities (+1,300) sectors, offsetting over-the-year losses in Manufacturing
(-2,100), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-800), and Government (-300).

Hours and Earnings

In October 2005, the $13.23 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector's production workers represented a monthly gain of three cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of twenty cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in October, down 0.1 of an hour over the month and up 0.1 of an hour since October 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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