Rhode Island-Based Jobs Rose by 7,200 from June; July Unemployment Rate Decreases to 5.8 Percent

Published on Thursday, August 19, 2021

CRANSTON, R.I. - The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in July, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The July rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point from the June rate of 5.9 percent. Last year the rate was 14.0 percent in July.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in July, down half of a percentage point from June. The U.S. rate was 10.2 percent in July 2020.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 30,800, down 1,100 from June. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 44,100 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 505,300, up 300 from June. Last July there were 460,800 employed Rhode Island residents.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 536,100 in July, down 800 from June but up 400 from July 2020 (535,700).

Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is up 8,600 and the number of employed RI residents is down 34,500. Currently, there are 25,900 fewer RI residents participating in the labor force than there were prior to the start of the pandemic.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

Rhode Island-based nonfarm jobs rose to 478,700 in July, an increase of 7,200 jobs from the revised June job count of 471,500. The July jobs increase marks the highest monthly gain since August 2020. Through the first seven months in 2021, the Rhode Island economy has added 20,900 jobs, or an average of 3,000 jobs per month.

The Government sector added 2,900 jobs in July, fueled by job gains reported among the local government branch. The late start of the 2020-2021 public school year carried education employment into July when it typically subsides in June.

Accommodation & Food Services added 1,100 jobs in July, rebounding from a loss of 100 jobs in June. Both full-service and limited-services restaurants noted strong job gains.

Employment in the Manufacturing sector rose by 1,000 as the durable goods component of the sector reported robust hiring in July. This was the largest over-the-month job increase in Manufacturing since June 2020.

Sizable job gains in July were also noted in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+600), Health Care & Social Assistance (+500), Transportation & Utilities (+500) and Wholesale Trade (+500) sectors, while smaller gains were reported among the Information (+200), Other Services (+100) and Professional & Business Services (+100) sectors.

Offsetting the July job gains was a loss of 100 jobs reported in each of Construction, Financial Activities and Retail Trade sectors. Employment remained unchanged in the Educational Services and Mining & Logging sectors. Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,200. Gradually, restrictions started to ease, and the economy began a slow upward trend. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 31,900, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+7,600) sector. Health Care & Social Assistance is up 4,200 jobs since July 2020, followed by the Manufacturing (+3,800), Construction (+2,800), Retail Trade (+2,500), Other Services (+2,100) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+2,100) sectors.

Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Government (+1,700), Wholesale Trade (+1,500), Transportation & Utilities (+1,500), Professional & Business Services (+900), Educational Services (+700), Financial Activities (+400) and Information (+100) 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 108,000 jobs.Through July 2021, the state's economy has recovered 79,500 or 74 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Three employment sectors, the Construction, Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing sectors have recovered all the jobs it lost during the economic shutdown.

The Transportation & Utilities sector has regained 97 percent of the jobs it lost during the restriction period, followed by the Retail Trade (81%), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (75%), Accommodation & Food Services (72%), Health Care & Social Assistance (71%), Other Services (68%) and Professional & Business Services (56%) sectors.

The Government and Financial Activities sectors have recovered 42 percent and 32 percent of the jobs they lost during the pandemic shutdown, respectively, while the Information sector has recovered 25 percent and the Educational Services sector has regained 6 percent.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In July, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $22.50 per hour, up eighty-two cents from June, and up two dollars and six cents from July 2020.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39 hours per week in July, down three-tenths of an hour over the month, but up three and a half hours from a year ago.

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