Rhode Island-Based Jobs Increase 100 from August; September Unemployment Rate Increases to 3.1 Percent

Published on Thursday, October 20, 2022

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in September, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The September rate was up three-tenths of a percentage point from the August rate of 2.8 percent. Last year the rate was 5.4 percent in September.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in September, down two-tenth of a percentage point from August. The U.S. rate was 4.7 percent in September 2021.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 17,700 up 1,400 from August. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 13,200 over the year. Since April 2020, the height of pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 82,600.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 559,200, up 500 over the month and up 17,400 over the year. Since April 2020, the number of employed Rhode Island residents is up 113,100.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 576,900 in September, up 1,800 over the month and up 4,200 from September 2021. The labor force is up 30,500 from April 2020.

Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 3,300 and the number of employed RI residents is up 8,400. Currently, there are 5,100 more RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic. The labor force, employment and unemployment estimates have now reached points surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The Rhode Island economy saw continued growth in September, following a gain of 2,200 jobs reported in August. Total nonfarm jobs totaled 498,600 in September, an increase of 100 jobs from the revised August figure of 498,500. The number of private sector jobs rose by 1,300 in September which was offset by a loss of 1,200 jobs reported in the public sector.

The Administrative & Waste Services added 1,000 jobs in September, boosting its employment level to 29,300, the highest level since January 2020.

The Health Care & Social Assistance sector posted a gain of 900 jobs in September as job gains were noted among outpatient treatment facilities.

The Educational Services, Financial Activities and Wholesale Trade sectors also reported gains, adding 400, 300 and 100 jobs, respectively, in September.

The Government sector fell by 1,200 jobs in September, erasing the 1,000 jobs it added in August. Local government educational services, which propelled the August gains, was largely responsible for the September declines. A loss of 100 jobs in the State segment was offset by a gain of 100 in the Federal segment.

The number of jobs in the Professional & Technical Services sector fell by 400 in September, followed by a loss of 300 jobs in both the Accommodation & Food Services and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors.

The Information, Management of Companies, Retail Trade and Transportation & Utilities sectors each lost 100 jobs in September, while the number of jobs in the Construction, Manufacturing, Mining & Logging and Other Services sectors remained unchanged.

Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,700. Gradually, restrictions began to ease, and the economy began an upward recovery trend. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 13,700, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+4,000) and Health Care & Social Assistance (+3,800) sectors. Substantial increases have also occurred in the Construction (+2,000), Administrative & Waste Services (+1,100), and Manufacturing (+1,000) sectors.

Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Other Services (+800), Professional & Technical Services (+800), Educational Services (+600), Transportation & Utilities (+600), Wholesale Trade (+600), and Government (+200) sectors.

Over the year, jobs were down in the Retail Trade (-800), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-500), Management of Companies (-300) and Financial Activities (-200) sectors.

The number of jobs in Information and Mining & Logging remained even from September 2021.

To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close or operate with restrictions in April and May of 2020, resulting in the loss of 108,100 jobs. Through September 2022, the state’s economy has recovered 98,900 or nearly 92 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Six employment sectors, Administrative & Waste Services, Construction, Manufacturing, Professional & Technical Services, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade have reported more jobs in September 2022 than they had in the month prior to the pandemic shutdown.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector has recovered 93 percent of the jobs lost during the restriction period, followed by the Health Care & Social Assistance (86%), Other Services (83%), Retail Trade (82%), Information (75%), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (60%) and Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (57%) sectors.

The Government (49%) and Educational Services (33%) sectors have recovered less than half the jobs lost during the shutdown, while the Financial Activities and Management of Companies sectors have yet to recover any of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In September, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $23.85 per hour, up one cent from August, and up one dollar and forty-one cents from September 2021.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 41.1 hours per week in September, up half an hour over the month, and up an hour and nine-tenths from a year ago.

The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the October 2022 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2022.