In December 2015, 33.5 percent of Rhode Island’s unemployed
workers were eligible to collect Unemployment Insurance (UI)
benefits. Numbering 8,952 people, these "insured unemployed"
accounted for 1.7 percent of the State’s total employed
Nearly 23 percent (2,041) of the Ocean State’s insured unemployed
faced long-term unemployment, defined as collecting unemployment
benefits for more than fourteen weeks.
More than 20 percent (1,827) of the people receiving UI benefits
were between the ages of 35 and 44, while nearly 23 percent
(2,030) were 45 to 54 years old. Almost 29 percent of all insured
unemployed workers 60 years and older had been collecting benefits
for at least fourteen weeks, while 13.5 percent of those under 22
years of age and 21.4 percent of 22 to 24 years old were
considered long-term unemployed.
In December, nearly 39 percent (3,447) of those collecting UI
benefits had just a high school diploma. An additional 1,090
people (12.2%) had less than a high school diploma, while 24.2
percent (2,167) of the insured unemployed had at least a
Bachelor’s degree. Seventeen percent of insured unemployed workers
with less than a high school diploma had been collecting benefits
for a minimum of fourteen weeks, while 27.6 percent of those with
at least a Bachelor’s degree were also considered long-term
On an industry basis, 15.8 percent (1,410) of the State’s insured
unemployed workers came from the Administrative & Waste Services
sector. There were also 981 individuals with an attachment to the
Health Care & Social Assistance sector, accounting for 11.0
percent of all insured unemployed workers. An additional 10.7
percent (954) of those collecting UI benefits in December had
worked in the Construction sector. Large numbers of insured
unemployed were also reported in Accommodation & Food Services
(925), Manufacturing (866) and Retail Trade (765).
Those previously employed in Office & Administrative Support
occupations accounted for 14.8 percent (1,328) of the State’s
insured unemployed. A large number of workers previously employed
in Production (945), Food Preparation & Serving Related (668) and
Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance (650) occupations also
collected UI benefits in December. Numerous occupational groups
reported concentrations of long-term unemployment above the state
average, including Education, Training & Library (45.2%),
Healthcare Practitioner & Technical (36.5%), Legal (34.4%) and
Office & Administrative Support (30.9%).