Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Drops to 12.7 Percent (pdf)

December 18, 2009

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2009 decreased for the second straight month, falling to 12.7 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate of 12.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate also decreased over the month, falling two-tenths of a percentage point to 10.0 percent.

In November, the number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—decreased by 1,300 over the month to total 72,400. Over the year, however, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 20,800.

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 36,281, up 2,295 (6.7%) from the October average of 33,986.

The number of employed RI residents increased 2,100 over the month, totaling 498,200 in November. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents decreased by 17,200. The increase in the number of employed residents offset the decrease in the number of unemployed residents. Therefore, the state’s total labor force grew by 400 over the month to reach 570,600.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island based non-farm jobs totaled 455,200 in November 2009, the lowest employment level since April 1998 (455,000). The November job count declined by 1,300 (-0.3%) from the October revised employment level of 456,500. The private sector accounted for 900 of the 1,300 lost jobs, while the Government sector shed 400 jobs in November.

Employment in Retail Trade declined by 600 jobs over the month as several retail industries fell short of normal holiday hiring expectations. Also in November, the Accommodation & Food Services and Government sectors lost 500 and 400 jobs, respectively. Within Accommodation & Food Services, employment losses were reported in full service restaurants, while the Government declines were attributed to losses at the local and federal level. Job losses were also reported in the Professional & Business Services (-300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
(-200) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) sectors.

Modest job gains were noted in several sectors in November, including Health Care & Social Assistance, Wholesale Trade and Other Services, as each sector added 200 jobs. Also, Construction and Educational Services both added 100 jobs over the month. Employment remained stable in the Manufacturing, Financial Activities, Information, and Natural Resources & Mining sectors.

November 2009 employment was down 19,200 (-4.0%) from November 2008, with job declines reported in nearly all economic sectors. Manufacturing (-4,600), Retail Trade (-2,300), Construction (-2,000), Professional & Business Services (-1,800), Accommodation & Food Services (-1,700), Government (-1,400), Other Services (-1,200) and Financial Activities (-1,000) reported the most significant annual employment declines. Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Information (-800), Transportation & Utilities (-700), Wholesale Trade (-700), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-500), Educational Services (-300) and Health Care & Social Assistance (-200).

MANUFACTURING: In November 2009, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.41 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up ten cents from October 2009 and up forty cents from November 2008. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.4 hours per week in November, down one-tenth of an hour over the month, and down nine-tenths of an hour 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 December labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Friday, January 22, 2010.

About the RI Department of Labor and Training

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.