August Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.7 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 100 from July

Published on Thursday, September 14, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses lost 100 jobs in August as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.7 percent. Over the year, jobs were down 6,900 from August 2022 and the unemployment rate was down seven- tenths of a percentage point. Through August, Rhode Island has recovered 94,400 or 87.2 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The August unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the July rate of 2.8 percent. Last year the rate was 3.4 percent in August.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in August, up three-tenths of a percentage point from July. The U.S. rate was 3.7 percent in August 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 15,200, down 600 from July. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 3,900 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 555,700, up 1,200 over the month and up 4,100 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 571,000 in August, up 700 over the month and up 300 from August 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 63.3 percent in August, unchanged from 63.3 in July, and down from 63.4 in August 2022. Nationally, 62.8 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 744 in August down from 1,450 in July. Claims were up an average of 111 a week from August 2022 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 493,400 in August, a decrease of 100 jobs from the revised July jobs figure of 493,500. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are down 6,900 or 1.4 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 2.0 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island fell by 100 in August and is down 5,600 from August 2022.

August Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • The July jobs report was revised down by 100, from a reported loss of 1,700 jobs from June to a loss of 1,800 jobs.
  • Eight employment sectors reported monthly job losses in August, as opposed to the six sectors that reported monthly gains.
  • The largest over-the-month loss was reported in the Administrative & Waste Services sector (-800), followed by the Construction sector (-300).
  • The number of jobs in the Administrative & Waste sector has decreased for two consecutive months, shedding 1,500 jobs. The sector's employment level is at its lowest since July 2020.
  • Offsetting the job losses was a gain of 900 jobs in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector, equaling the 900 jobs added in July. The sector is at its highest employment level since March 2020.
  • Accommodation & Food Services and Wholesale Trade each added 300 jobs in August.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In August, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $25.04 per hour, down fifty-one cents from July, but up one dollar and twenty cents from August 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 37.8 hours per week in August, unchanged over the month, and down two hours and eight-tenths from a year ago.

* The average number of verified initial claims filed during the week that includes the 12th of the month and the three weeks prior. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the September 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 19, 2023.