Rhode Island-Based Jobs Rose by 1,900 from January; February Unemployment Rate Remained at 3.1 Percent

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses added 1,900 jobs in February as the state’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1 percent. Over the year jobs were up 9,400 from February 2022 and the unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point (-0.1). Through February, Rhode Island has recovered 102,000 or 94.2 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The February unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, unchanged from the January rate of 3.1 percent. Last year the rate was 3.2 percent in February.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in February, up two-tenths of a percentage point from January. The U.S. rate was 3.8 percent in February 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 17,300, down 300 from January. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 1,100 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 548,800, unchanged over the month and down 2,700 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 566,100 in February, down 300 over the month and down 3,800 from February 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 62.9 percent in February, unchanged from January, and down from 63.4 in February 2022. Nationally, 62.5 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first time filers averaged 1,053 in February down from 1,974 in January. Claims were up an average of 68 a week from February 2022 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 501,000 in February, an increase of 1,900 jobs from the revised January jobs figure of 499,100. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are up 9,400 or 1.9 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 2.9 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs rose by 1,100 in February and is up 8,700 from February 2022.

February Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • Total nonfarm jobs in Rhode Island hit the highest level since March 2020.
  • The January jobs report was revised up by 2,400 from a reported loss of 700 jobs, to a gain of 1,700 jobs.
  • Nine employment sectors reported monthly job gains, while three sectors reported a monthly decline from January.
  • The Government sector regained all the 500 jobs lost in January.
  • The Construction sector established a peak employment level of 23,500. The sector has not reported a monthly job decline since May 2022.
  • Health Care & Social Assistance lost 300 jobs in February, mainly due to losses reported in outpatient care services.
  • Fifteen industry sectors reported annual job gains from February 2022.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In February, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $23.87 per hour, up nine cents from January, and up sixty-six cents from February 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in February, up five-tenths of an hour over the month, but down one hour and a half from a year ago.


* The average of the 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 March 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2023.