RI Department of Labor and Training

Unemployment Rate Rises to 10.5 Percent (pdf)

December 16, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2011 was 10.5 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. This represents the first monthly increase in the unemployment rate since December 2009. However, the November 2011 rate was down a full percentage point from the previous November, representing the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases in the state’s unemployment rate.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in November, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down one and two-tenths percentage points from November 2010.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—increased by 500 over the October figures, rising to 59,200 in November, the first over-the-month increase since March 2010. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents dropped by 7,000.

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 November was 30,215, up 1,976 (+7.0%) from the October average of 28,239 but down 3,239 (-9.7%) from the November 2010 average of 33,454.

The number of employed RI residents increased 400 over the October figures, totaling 503,300 in November, the second consecutive over-the-month increase in the number of employed. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was down 7,500 from November 2010.

The RI labor force totaled 562,500 in November 2011, up 900 from October but down 14,600 from November 2010 estimates. The labor force increase (+900) was due to the increase in the number of employed (+400) combined with the increase in the number of unemployed (+500). This is the second consecutive month that the RI labor force has increased, following nine consecutive months of decreases.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 458,200 in November, reflecting a loss of 1,900 jobs from the revised October employment estimate of 460,100 (revised upward by 800), marking four consecutive months of job declines.

The Health Care & Social Assistance and Accommodation & Food Services sectors each lost 600 jobs over the month, while the Retail Trade sector lost 400 jobs. Employment losses in Health Care & Social Assistance were mainly due to reported declines in all health care-related subsectors. Losses in the Accommodation & Food Services were mainly due to declines among full-service restaurants. Losses in Retail Trade can be attributed to reduced seasonal hiring, as retail establishments added fewer workers than in previous Novembers.

Also in November, several sectors reported smaller employment losses, including Government (-300), Other Services (-300), Manufacturing (-200), Wholesale Trade (-200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200),

Educational Services (-200) and Professional & Business Services (-100). Employment in the Information and Natural Resources & Mining sectors remained unchanged.

The Construction sector continued to trend up as 900 jobs were added in November, representing the largest gain since March 2000 (+900). The increase marks three straight months of gains within the sector, totaling 1,500 jobs. Specialty trade contractors reported the largest gains, notably building finishing contractors and building equipment contractors. The Financial Activities (+200) and Transportation & Utilities (+100) sectors also experienced positive employment growth over the month.
Over the year, employment was down 600 from November 2010. Job declines were reported in nine economic sectors since last November, including Government (-1,400), Accommodation & Food Services (-800), Financial Activities (-700), Manufacturing (-500), Other Services (-500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200), Information (-200), Health Care & Social Assistance (-100) and Wholesale Trade (-100).
Retail Trade employment posted the largest over-the-year gain in November, with an increase of 1,100 jobs, followed by Educational Services (+1,000), Construction (+1,000), Professional & Business Services (+700) and Transportation & Utilities (+100). Natural Resources & Mining employment remained even over the year.

MANUFACTURING: In November 2011, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.42 per hour. The average hourly production wage was down four cents from October 2011 and up $2.53 from November 2010. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.8 hours per week in November, up seven-tenths of an hour over the month and up seven-tenths of an hour 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 December labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, January 20, 2012.

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