Rhode Island-Based Jobs Increase by 2,400 from March; April Unemployment Rate Decreases to 3.2 Percent

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2022

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in April, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The April rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point from the March rate of 3.4 percent. Last year the rate was 6.1 percent in April.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in April, unchanged from March. The U.S. rate was 6.0 percent in April 2021.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 18,000, down 1,600 from March. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 16,600 over the year. Since April 2020, the height of pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 82,300.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 551,000, up 1,700 over the month and up 14,200 over the year. Since April 2020 the number of employed Rhode Island residents is up 104,900.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 569,000 in April, up 100 over the month but down 2,400 from April 2021. The labor force is up 22,600 from April 2020. 

Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is down 3,000 and the number of employed RI residents is up 200. Currently, there are 2,800 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic. The unemployment rate and the number of employed and unemployed Rhode Islanders have now dropped to pre-pandemic levels.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island totaled 495,500 in April, reflecting a gain of 2,400 jobs from the revised March employment figure of 493,100. The local economy has added 8,500 jobs over the past three months, an average of 2,800 jobs per month.

The Health Care & Social Assistance sector added 700 jobs in April, the largest over-the-month gain since February 2021. The ambulatory health care services (outpatient services) subsector reported robust job gains.

The Professional & Technical Services and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sectors added 600 and 500 jobs, respectively, while the Other Services sector added 400 jobs.

In addition, the Wholesale Trade sector added 300 jobs in April, followed by the Government (+200), Transportation & Utilities (+200), Educational Services (+100) and Manufacturing (+100) sectors.

Offsetting some of the April job gains was a loss of 200 jobs reported in both the Administrative & Waste Services and Retail Trade sectors.

Three sectors, Accommodation & Food Services, Financial Activities and Management of Companies, all reported a loss of 100 jobs in April.

The number of jobs in the Construction, Information and Mining & Logging sectors remained unchanged from March.

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 19,200, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+5,400) sector. Health Care & Social Assistance employment is up 2,700 jobs since April 2021, followed by the Professional & Technical Services (+2,400), Construction (+1,600), Other Services  (+1,600), Wholesale Trade (+1,400), Manufacturing (+1,300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,200), Government (+1,100) and Transportation & Utilities (+1,000) sectors.

Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Retail Trade (+600) and Information (+300) sectors, while the number of jobs remained even in the Educational Services, Financial Activities and Mining & Logging sectors.

Over the year, jobs were down in the Administrative & Waste Services (-900) and Management of Companies (-500) 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 April 2022, the state’s economy has recovered 95,800 or nearly 87 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Five employment sectors, Construction, Manufacturing, Professional & Technical Services, Transportation & Utilities and Wholesale Trade, have reported more jobs in April 2022 than they had in the month prior to the pandemic shutdown.

The Retail Trade sector has recovered 94 percent of the jobs lost during the restriction period, followed by the Accommodation & Food Services (88%) and Other Services (88%) sectors. In addition, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Health Care & Social Assistance have both regained 81 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown followed by the Information (75%), Administrative & Waste (70%), Government (42%) and Financial Activities (39%) sectors.

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

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In April, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $23.90 per hour, up thirty-seven cents from March, and up two dollars and seventy-five cents from April 2021.

 Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.9 hours per week in April, down one hour over the month, but up half an hour from a year ago.

The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the May 2022 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2022.