October Unemployment Rate Rose to 2.7 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 700 from September

Published on Thursday, November 16, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses lost 700 jobs in October as the state’s unemployment rate rose to 2.7 percent. Over the year, jobs were down 2,500 from October 2022 and the unemployment rate was down seven- tenths of a percentage point. Through October, Rhode Island has recovered 96,000 or 88.6 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The October unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the September rate of 2.6 percent. Last year the rate was 3.4 percent in October.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in October, up one-tenth of a percentage point from September. The U.S. rate was 3.7 percent in October 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 15,600, up 700 from September. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 3,600 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 557,200, up 100 over the month and up 9,100 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 572,900 in October, up 1,000 over the month and up 5,700 from October 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 63.5 percent in October, up from 63.4 in September, and up from 63.0 in October 2022. Nationally, 62.7 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 639 in October down from 680 in September. Claims were up an average of 94 a week from October 2022 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 495,000 in October, a decrease of 700 jobs from the revised September jobs figure of 495,700. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are down 2,500 or 0.5 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 1.9 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island fell by 900 in October and is down 3,200 from October 2022.

October Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • The September jobs report was revised up by 100, from a reported gain of 1,400 jobs from August to a gain of 1,500 jobs.
  • Eight employment sectors reported monthly job losses in October, nine sectors reported monthly gains, and one sector remained unchanged.
  • The largest over-the-month decrease was reported in the Construction sector, shedding 1,000 jobs from September. Job losses were noted among the construction of buildings trade, as well as heavy and civil engineering construction and specialty trade contractors.
  • The Health Care & Social Assistance sector lost 700 jobs in October with most of the job losses occurring in outpatient treatment facilities. This marks the first monthly job loss within this sector since March.
  • Offsetting the job losses in October, was a gain of 600 jobs reported in the Accommodation & Food Services sector, followed by a gain of 500 jobs in the Professional & Technical Services sector.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In October, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $25.93 per hour, up fifty cents from September, and up one dollar and seventy-seven cents from October 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in October, up one-tenth of an hour over the month, and down one and seven-tenths hours 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 November 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 21, 2023.