Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



Rhode Island’s Job Count Declines; Unemployment Rate Rises (pdf)


    December 21, 2007

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the number of RI jobs in November 2007 declined by 300 from October, reducing the job count to 499,300. This represents the first employment decrease in Rhode Island since January 2007.

Additionally, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.3 of a percentage point over the month, reaching 5.2 percent in November. This marks the highest RI unemployment rate since August 2006. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7 percent.

In November, the number of unemployed Rhode Island residents increased by 1,400 to 30,000 from the October level of 28,600. Compared to November 2006, the number of unemployed is up by 500.

On a related note, the number of employed RI residents declined by 800 over the month, totaling 551,000 in November 2007. In November 2007, RI resident employment was up by 2,300 from the previous November.

From October to November of this year, the largest employment losses were reported in the Manufacturing (-500) and Accommodation & Food Services (-300) sectors. Smaller losses of 100 each were noted in the Wholesale Trade and Financial Activities sectors.

The reduction in Manufacturing sector employment was mostly attributed to a layoff at a local chemical manufacturer. Within the Accommodation & Food Services sector, losses were noted in restaurants and eating places.

The month’s employment decreases were partially offset by job gains of 200 each in the Professional & Business Services sector and the Educational Services sector, along with gains of 100 jobs each in the Construction, Retail Trade, and Information sectors.

From November 2006 to November 2007, RI jobs grew 3,400, a 0.7 percent increase. The largest annual employment gains in Rhode Island occurred in the Professional & Business Services (+1,500); Construction (+1,100); Health Care & Social Assistance (+800); Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+700); and Other Services (+600) sectors. The national growth rate for this same period totalled 1.1 percent.

Manufacturing employment experienced the largest over-the-year loss (-1,400), followed by declines in Government (-500), Financial Activities (-400), Wholesale Trade (-200) and Retail Trade (-200).
Hours and Earnings
In November 2007, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $13.99 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up five cents from October and up 56 cents per hour from a year ago. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.4 hours per week in November, down 0.3 of an hour over the month and up 0.2 of an hour since November 2006.

Note: Current month figures are preliminary; prior month and year are revised. Data are subject to revision. 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 18, 2008.



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.