RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.4 Percent (pdf)

November 19, 2010

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2010 was 11.4 percent, a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from the state’s September 2010 rate. This represents the eighth 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 October, unchanged from September.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment —decreased by 600 from September figures, dropping to 65,300. This decline marks the ninth straight over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents decreased by 4,800, the largest over-the-year decline since February 1995.

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 33,048, down 854  (-2.5%) from the September average of 33,902.

The number of employed RI residents increased by 1,100 over the September figures, totaling 506,200. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 4,700, the eighth consecutive over-the-year increase and the largest over-the-year increase since April 2007.

The monthly increase in the number of employed residents outweighed the decrease in the number of unemployed residents, resulting in a total Rhode Island labor force of 571,500. This represents an increase of 500 over September labor force figures but a decrease of 100 over October 2009 figures.

Total nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island increased to 451,000 in October, reflecting a gain of 600 jobs from the revised September employment figure of 450,400. Private sector employment rose by 800 over the month, while the Government sector lost 200 jobs.

Accommodation & Food Services added 500 jobs, as fewer seasonal layoffs were reported in October than normal. Sparked by an increase in wholesale agents and brokers, Wholesale Trade employment grew by 400 over the month. The Manufacturing sector added 300 jobs in October, mainly due to reported gains in the durable goods component of manufacturing.

Smaller gains were reported in the Retail Trade and Other Services sectors, each added 200 jobs in October. Employment in the Construction, Information, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Transportation & Utilities and Natural Resources & Mining sectors remained unchanged.

Health Care & Social Assistance (-400) reported the largest over-the month decline due to reported losses in ambulatory health care services. Over-the-month declines were also reported in Government (-200), Professional & Business Services (-200), Financial Activities (-100) and Educational Services (-100).

October 2010 employment was down 3,500 (-0.8%) from October 2009, due to over-the-year job losses in several economic sectors including Professional & Business Services (-2,000), Retail Trade (-1,100), Educational Services (-1,100), Manufacturing (-800), Wholesale Trade (-400), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-300), Governmen (-200) and Construction (-100).

However, employment in seven sectors—Other Services (+1,400), Financial Activities (+400), Transportation & Utilities (+200), Information (+200), Accommodations & Food Services (+100), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100) is up over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In October 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.85 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up two cents from September 2010 and up 54 cents from October 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.3 hours per week in October, up two-tenths of an hour from September, and up an hour and six-tenths 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 November labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, December 17, 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.