RI Unemployment Rate Drops Again, to 12.3%

Unemployment Rate Drops to 12.3 Percent

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced Friday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2010 was 12.3 percent, a decrease of 0.2 of a percentage point from the state's April 2010 rate. This is the third consecutive over-the-month decrease in the state's unemployment rate. The U.S. unemployment rate in May was 9.7 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from April.

The number of unemployed RI residents-those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment -decreased by 1,100 from April figures, dropping to 71,200. This decline marks the fourth straight over-the-month decrease in the number unemployed. Over the year, the number of unemployed RI residents increased by 10,700.


• The May RI jobless rate was 0.2 of a percentage point less than the April 2010 rate of 12.5 percent.

• The number of employed RI residents grew for the fifth consecutive month, reporting an increase of 700 employed residents from April to May.

• The number of jobs in RI increased by 3,200 over the month, fueled by Census hiring.

Due to numerous eligibility requirements, the number of unemployed RI residents differs from the number of RI Unemployment Insurance recipients. The average weekly claim load for RI Unemployment Insurance benefits in May was 38,545, down 2,153 (–5.3%) from the April average of 40,697.

The number of employed RI residents increased 700 over the April figures, totaling 507,700 in May. This is the fifth consecutive month in which the number of employed RI residents increased. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents increased by 4,600, the third consecutive over-the-year increase.

The monthly decrease in the number of unemployed residents outweighed the increase in the number of employed residents, resulting in a total Rhode Island labor force of 579,000, a decrease of 300 over April and an increase of 15,400 over May 2009 figures.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island nonfarm payroll employment totaled 451,800 in May, a gain of 3,200 jobs from the revised April employment level of 448,600.
The boost to the local economy was fueled by the Government sector (+1,800) as Federal Government added nearly 1,600 temporary workers for the 2010 Census.

The private sector also contributed to the economic growth by adding 1,400 jobs between April and May. Employment in the Other Services sector increased by 700 as several civic and social youth organizations increased their payrolls in preparation for the end of the school year. Construction added 600 jobs in May, mainly due to reported job gains in the specialty trade contractors' field.

Large employment gains were also reported in the Educational Services (+500) and Accommodation & Food Services (+400) sectors. Health Care & Social Assistance employment was up 400 due to gains in ambulatory health care services. Smaller, but positive gains were noted in Transportation & Utilities (+200) and Natural Resources & Mining (+100), while the Retail Trade, Manufacturing, Financial Activities and Information sectors remained unchanged.
Professional & Business Services employment declined by 1,200 in May, due mainly to losses in temporary help and business support services. Wholesale Trade (-200), and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-100) were the remaining two sectors to report job losses.

May 2010 employment was down 8,800 (-1.9%) from May 2009, with job declines reported in several economic sectors, including Retail Trade (-3,100), Accommodation & Food Services (-2,000), Manufacturing (-1,700), Professional & Business Services (-1,400) and Construction (-1,000). Smaller over-the-year losses were noted in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-800), Information (-600), Wholesale Trade (-600) and Financial Activities (-400).
Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,500), Government (+1,200) and Natural Recourses & Mining (+100) added jobs over the year. Employment in Transportation & Utilities, Educational Services, and Other Services remained even.

MANUFACTURING: In May 2010, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $14.76 per hour. The average hourly production wage was up 7 cents from April 2010 and up 79 cents from May 2009. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.8 hours per week in May, up seven-tenths of an hour over the month, and up 1.7 hours over the year.
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. Unemployment rates prior to 1976 are not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today's methods. 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