Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in October, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The October rate was up two-tenths of a percentage point from the September rate of 5.2 percent. Last year the rate was 7.3 percent in October.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in October, down two-tenths of a percentage point from September. The U.S. rate was 6.9 percent in October 2020.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 29,500, down 700 from September. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 9,400 over the year. Since April 2020, the height of pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 65,200.
The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 522,100, up 25,200 over the year. Since April 2020 the number of employed Rhode Island residents is up 71,100.
The Rhode Island labor force totaled 551,700 in October, up 15,800 from October 2020 and up 6,000 from April 2020.
Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is up 7,300 and the number of employed RI residents is down 17,700. Currently, there are 10,300 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 479,200 in October, reflecting a loss of 2,100 jobs from the revised September job count of 481,300. The monthly job loss in October marks the first job loss since December 2020.
The number of jobs in the Government sector fell by 1,600 in October mainly due to losses reported in state government.
After reporting a gain of 400 jobs in September, employment in Professional & Business Services declined by 500 in October. In addition, the Educational Services sector also reported a loss of 500 jobs from September.
The Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Financial Activities sectors both lost 300 jobs in October. The Financial Activities sector has reported three consecutive months of job declines, while the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector has reported job losses in the past two consecutive months.
Lastly, the number of jobs in the Construction sector fell by 200 in October, the first monthly job decline reported since July. Offsetting the October job declines was a gain of 400 jobs noted in the Accommodation & Food Services sector.
A gain of 200 jobs was reported in each of the Health Care & Social Assistance, Other Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors.
The Information, Manufacturing and Retail Trade sectors all reported a gain of 100 jobs in October, while the number of jobs in the Wholesale Trade and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged.
Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,200. Gradually, restrictions started to ease, and the economy began a slow upward trend. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 17,300, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+5,000) sector. Manufacturing employment is up 2,800 jobs since October 2020, followed by the Health Care & Social Assistance (+2,200), Government (+2,100), Construction (+1,900), Retail Trade (+1,100), Wholesale Trade (+1,100) and Other Services (+1,000) sectors.
Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+600), Transportation & Utilities (+400), and Information (+100) sectors.
Employment in Professional & Business Services is down 600 from a year ago, while annual declines were also noted in the Educational Services (-200) and Financial Activities (-200) sectors.
To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close or operate with restrictions in March and April of 2020, resulting in the loss of 108,000 jobs. Through October 2021, the state’s economy has recovered 80,000 or 74 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Three employment sectors, Construction, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade have recovered all the jobs lost during the economic shutdown.
The Transportation & Utilities sector has regained 97 percent of the jobs it lost during the restriction period, followed by the Retail Trade (84%), Accommodation & Food Services (79%), Health Care & Social Assistance (70%), Other Services (69%), Government (58%), Professional & Business Services (57%) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (52%) sectors.
The Information sector has recovered 38 percent of the jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown followed by the Financial Activities sector which has recovered 5 percent.
The Educational Services sector has yet to recover any of the 3,200 jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In October, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $22.88 per hour, up forty-four cents from September, and up one dollar and fifty-seven cents from October 2020.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.7 hours per week in October, up half an hour over the month, and up two hours and eight-tenths from a year ago.
About DLT: The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities 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, please call the Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the website at www.dlt.ri.gov.
The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the November 2021 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2021.
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