Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 1,300 from December; January Unemployment Rate Decreases to 4.2 Percent

Published on Thursday, March 10, 2022

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in January, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The January rate was down three-tenths of a percentage point from the December rate of 4.5 percent. Last year the rate was 6.3 percent in January.  

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in January, up one-tenth of a percentage point from December. The U.S. rate was 6.4 percent in January 2021.  

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 23,900, down 1,800 from December. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 11,700 over the year.  

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 544,900, up 1,000 over the month and up 15,000 over the year.  

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 568,800 in January, down 800 over the month but up 3,200 from January 2021.  

Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, there are 2,900 more unemployed RI residents and 5,900 fewer employed RI residents. Currently, there are 3,000 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic. 

Rhode Island-Based Jobs 

Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 486,700 in January, a decrease of 1,300 jobs from the revised December employment figure of 488,000.  

The Accommodation & Food Services sector lost 800 jobs in January, due to declining payrolls reported within restaurants and other eating places.  

The Manufacturing sector reported a loss of 500 jobs, the largest over- the- month lost in January and the first over- the- month lost since April 2020. The Construction sector reported a loss of 400 jobs in January, its second consecutive 400 job loss in two months. 

Smaller January job declines were noted in the Administrative & Waste Services (-300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation      (-200), Retail Trade (-200), Management of Companies (-100) and Wholesale Trade (-100) sectors.  

The number of jobs in the Information, Financial Activities and Mining & Logging sectors were unchanged from December.  

Offsetting some of the January job losses was a gain of 500 jobs reported in the Professional & Technical Services sector. The Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance and Other Services sectors each reported gains of 200, followed by an increase of 100 jobs in both the Government and Transportation & Utilities sectors. 

Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in March and April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,700. Gradually, restrictions began to ease, and the economy began to recover. Since January 2021, Rhode Island jobs are up 18,500, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+7,700) sector. Other Services employment is up 2,300 jobs since January 2021, followed by gains in the Professional & Technical Services (+2,000), Manufacturing (+1,500), Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,500), Administrative & Waste Services (+900), Government (+900) and Wholesale Trade (+900) sectors.  

Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Information (+600), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+500), Financial Activities (+400), Construction (+200), Transportation & Utilities (+200) and Mining & Logging (+100) sectors.  

Three sectors reported over-the-year losses as the number of jobs were down in the Educational Services (-500), Management of Companies (-400) and Retail Trade (-300) sectors. 

To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close or operate with restrictions in March and April of 2020, resulting in the loss of 108,100 jobs. Through January 2022, the state’s economy has recovered 87,000 or 81 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Four employment sectors, Information, Professional & Technical Services, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade, have recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown.  

The Administrative & Waste Services and Manufacturing sectors have each recovered 94 percent of the jobs lost during the restriction period, followed by the Other Services (88%), Construction (86%), Accommodation & Food Services (84%) and Retail Trade sectors (80%). 

Health Care & Social Assistance has regained 71 percent of the jobs it lost during the pandemic related shutdown followed by the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (63%), Financial Activities (56%) and Government (24%) sectors.  

The Management of Companies and Educational Services sectors have yet to recover any of the jobs they lost during the pandemic related shutdown. 

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings 

In January, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $23.30 per hour, up forty-three cents from December, and up two dollars and seventy-five cents from January 2021.  

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.1 hours per week in January, down one-tenth of an hour over the month, but up three and a half hours from a year ago.  

About DLT: The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the website at www.dlt.ri.gov

The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the February 2022 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2022.