RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 10.4 Percent (pdf)

November 18, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2011 was 10.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down one and one-tenth percentage points from October 2010. This represents Rhode Island’s lowest unemployment rate since April 2009 (10.3%).

The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in October, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down seven-tenths of a percentage point from October 2010.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 200 over the September figures, falling to 58,600 in October, the 19th consecutive over-the-month decline. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 7,700.

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 October was 28,239, down 1,301 (-4.4%) from the September average of 29,540 and down 4,809 (-14.6%) from the October 2010 average of 33,048.

The number of employed RI residents increased 1,300 over the September figures, totaling 502,900 in October.  This is the first over-the-month increase in employed RI residents since April 2011, and the largest over-the-month increase since March 2010 (+1,500). Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was down 7,700 from October 2010.

The RI labor force totaled 561,500 in October 2011, up 1,100 from September but down 15,400 from October 2010 estimates. The over-the-month increase in the number of employed residents outweighed the decrease in the number of unemployed residents, causing the labor force to post its first over-the-month increase since December 2010.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND:  Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 459,300 in October, reflecting a loss of 1,200 jobs from the September employment estimate of 460,500 (revised upward by 700), marking three consecutive months of job declines.

The Manufacturing sector lost 800 jobs over the month, with the majority of the job losses stemming from the durable goods component of manufacturing, mainly fabricated metal product and wood product manufacturing. Three sectors – Retail Trade, Accommodation & Food Services and Other Services – each shed 500 jobs since September. Employment declines in Retail Trade were reported in the clothing & clothing accessories stores subsector and the sporting goods, book stores, music stores & hobby stores subsector. Accommodation & Food Services experienced payroll declines in hotel & motel establishments, as well as in full service restaurants. Losses in Other Services can be attributed to reductions in civic & social organizations and business, professional, labor & political organizations.

Financial Activities reported a 200 job loss over the month, while employment in Professional & Business Services, Information, Wholesale Trade, Government and Natural Resources & Mining remained unchanged.

Following a gain of 200 jobs in September, Construction employment increased by 500 in October, mainly due to job gains in the specialty trade contractors and construction of building components of the sector. Health Care & Social Assistance and Educational Services each added 300 jobs over the month, while employment within the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Transportation & Utilities sectors were up 100 each over the month.

Over the year, employment was down 200 from October 2010. Job declines were reported in eight economic sectors since last October, including Government (-1,200), Financial Activities (-1,000), Manufacturing (-500), Accommodation & Food Services (-400), Other Services (-300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Construction (-100) and Information (-100). Retail Trade employment posted the largest over-the-year gain in October, with an increase of 1,400 jobs, followed by Professional & Business Services (+1,100), Educational Services (+900) and Health Care & Social Assistance (+200). Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale Trade and Natural Resources & Mining employment remained even over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In October 2011, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.45 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 20 cents from September 2011 and up $2.61 from October 2010. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.1 hours per week in October, up three-tenths of an hour over the month and unchanged over the year.

METHODOLOGY: 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 November labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, December 16, 2011.

Beginning with the release of the March 2011 employment estimates, the production of state and metropolitan area estimates transferred from individual State Workforce Agencies to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additional information on procedures for producing CES estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm.




ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s 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