Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Unemployment Rate Remains at 9.3 Percent (pdf)

December 19, 2008

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged over the month, remaining at 9.3 percent in November.

From October to November of this year, the U.S. unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent to reach 6.7 percent, its highest rate since October 1993.

The number of Rhode Island jobs in November 2008 declined by 4,000 from the revised October employment figure of 475,800, reducing the job count to 471,800. November marks the largest over-the-month employment drop since April 1991
(-4,300) and the eleventh straight month of job losses for both Rhode Island and the United States.

In November, the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents—those residents who classify themselves as available for and actively seeking employment—increased by 200 over the month to reach 53,100. From November 2007 to November 2008, the number of unemployed RI residents increased 23,100.

On a related note, the number of employed RI residents totaled 517,100 in November 2008, reflecting a decrease of 400 from the previous month. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents fell 29,500 between November 2007 and November 2008.

Employment in Retail Trade fell by 1,400 over the month as several retail industries fell short of normal holiday hiring in November.

Also in November, employment in Manufacturing decreased by 500, followed by Construction (-400), Professional & Business Services (-400), Accommodation & Food Services (-400), Wholesale Trade (-300), Health Care & Social Assistance (-300), Financial Activities (-200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-200) and Other Services (-100).

Educational Services and Transportation & Utilities each added 100 jobs in November, while employment in Natural Resources & Mining, Information and Government remained unchanged.

From November 2007 to November 2008, RI jobs declined 18,100 (-3.7%), the largest year-over-year loss since December 1990 (-30,200). Retail Trade (-3,600) reported the largest annual employment decline, followed by Manufacturing (-3,200), Professional & Business Services (-2,800), Government (-2,300), Construction (-1,600), Financial Activities (-1,400), Other Services (-1,400), Accommodation & Food Services (-800), Wholesale Trade   (-600), Transportation & Utilities (-500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-500) and Natural Resources & Mining (-100).

Health Care & Social Assistance and Educational Services reported an increase of 500 and 200 jobs, respectively, from November 2007 to November 2008, while employment in the Information sector remained even.

In November 2008, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.00 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up two cents from October and up one cent from a year ago November. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.4 hours per week in November, unchanged over the month and down an hour and one-tenth since November 2007.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. 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 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 23, 2009.

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 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