In March 2016, 38.3 percent of Rhode Island’s unemployed workers
were eligible to collect Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
Numbering 12,576 people, these "insured unemployed" accounted
for 2.4 percent of the State’s total employed (unadjusted).
Nearly 22 percent (2,724) of the Ocean State’s insured
unemployed faced long-term unemployment, defined as collecting
unemployment benefits for more than fourteen weeks.
Over 21 percent (2,673) of the people receiving UI benefits were
between the ages of 35 and 44, while more than 23 percent (2,924)
were 45 to 54 years old. Over 27 percent of all insured unemployed
workers 60 years and older had been collecting benefits for at
least fourteen weeks, while 14.3 percent of those under 22 years
of age and 20.7 percent of 22 to 24 years old were considered
In March, more than 42 percent (5,327) of those collecting UI
benefits had just a high school diploma. An additional 1,958
people (15.6%) had less than a high school diploma, while 19.4
percent (2,437) of the insured unemployed had at least a
Bachelor’s degree. Over 16 percent of insured unemployed workers
with less than a high school diploma had been collecting benefits
for a minimum of fourteen weeks, while 26.4 percent of those with
at least a Bachelor’s degree were also considered long-term
On an industry basis, 20.0 percent (2,520) of the State’s insured
unemployed workers came from the Administrative & Waste Services
sector. There were also 2,519 individuals with an attachment to
the Construction sector, accounting for 20.0 percent of all
insured unemployed workers. An additional 9.4 percent (1,180) of
those collecting UI benefits in March had worked in the
Accommodation & Food Services sector. Large numbers of insured
unemployed were also reported in Manufacturing (1,019), Retail
Trade (904) and Health Care & Social Assistance (901).
Those previously employed in Building & Grounds Cleaning &
Maintenance occupations accounted for 12.1 percent (1,521) of the
State’s insured unemployed. A large number of workers previously
employed in Office & Administrative Support (1,431), Construction
& Extraction (1,235) and Production (1,140) occupations also
collected UI benefits in March. Numerous occupational groups
reported concentrations of long-term unemployment above the state
average, including Community & Social Services (38.4%), Education,
Training & Library (32.2%), Business & Financial Operations
(31.3%) and Protective Service (31.3%).