May Unemployment Rate Remains at 3.0 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 1,200 from April

Published on Thursday, June 15, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses lost 1,200 jobs in May as the state’s unemployment rate remained at 3.0 percent. Over the year, jobs were down 2,100 from May 2022 and the unemployment rate was unchanged. Through May, Rhode Island has recovered 95,300 or 88.0 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Rhode Island Labor Force

The May unemployment rate was 3.0 percent, unchanged from the April rate of 3.0 percent. Last year the rate was 3.0 percent in May.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in May, up three-tenths of a percentage point from April. The U.S. rate was 3.6 percent in May 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 16,800, down 200 from April. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 200 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 551,600, up 1,900 over the month and down 4,100 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 568,400 in May, up 1,700 over the month and down 4,300 from May 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 63.1 percent in May, up from 62.9 in April, and down from 63.7 in May 2022. Nationally, 62.6 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 494,300 in May, a decrease of 1,200 jobs from the revised April jobs figure of 495,500. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are down 2,100 or 0.4 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 2.7 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island fell by 1,300 in May, down 3,800 from May 2022.

May Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • Total nonfarm jobs in Rhode Island declined for the third consecutive month, recording a loss of 7,000 jobs since February 2023.
  • The April jobs report was revised down by 100, from a reported loss of 3,800 jobs from March to a loss of 3,900 jobs.
  • Eight employment sectors reported monthly declines in May.

The largest over-the-month loss was reported in the Construction sector, which fell by 1,100 jobs, followed by the Administrative & Waste Services sector (-700).

  • Eight employment sectors reported monthly job gains in May.
  • Manufacturing and Transportation & Utilities each added 500 jobs in May, while the Retail Trade sector rose by 400 jobs.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In May, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $24.51 per hour, unchanged from April, but up thirty-seven cents from May 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.6 hours per week in May, unchanged over the month, and down nine-tenths of an hour 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 June 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, 2023.