March Unemployment Rate Remained at 3.1 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 700 from February

Published on Thursday, April 20, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses lost 700 jobs in March as the state’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1 percent. Over the year jobs were up 7,700 from March 2022 and the unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point (+0.1). Through March, Rhode Island has recovered 101,600 or 93.8 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The March unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, unchanged from the February rate of 3.1 percent. Last year the rate was 3.0 percent in March.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in March, down one-tenth of a percentage point from February. The U.S. rate was 3.6 percent in March 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 17,300, down 100 from February. The number of unemployed residents increased by 100 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 548,800, unchanged over the month and down 4,700 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 566,100 in March, down 100 over the month and down 4,500 from March 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 62.9 percent in March, unchanged from February, and down from 63.5 in March 2022. Nationally, 62.6 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 1,147 in March up from 1,053 in February. Claims were up an average of 16 a week from March 2022 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 500,600 in March, a decrease of 700 jobs from the revised February jobs figure of 501,300. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are up 7,700 or 1.6 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 2.7 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs fell by 1,700 in March but is up 5,800 from March 2022.

March Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • Total nonfarm jobs in Rhode Island fell for the first time since December 2022.
  • The February jobs report was revised up by 300, from a reported gain of 1,900 jobs to a gain of 2,200 jobs.
  • Ten employment sectors reported monthly job declines, while two sectors reported a monthly increase and six sectors remained unchanged from February.
  • The Government sector added 1,000 jobs in March, led by state government (+600), followed by local government (+300)
  • Through March 2023, Rhode Island has added 3,200 jobs, an average of 1,100 jobs per month.
  • The Manufacturing sector has reported three consecutive months of job declines totaling 600 jobs.
  • The Administrative & Waste Services sector has added jobs for four consecutive months, totaling 1,700 jobs.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In March, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $24.12 per hour, up forty-four cents from February, and up fifty-nine cents from March 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.8 hours per week in March, down four-tenths of an hour over the month, and down one and one-tenth hours from a year ago.

* The average of the 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 April 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2023.