September Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.6 Percent; Rhode Island-Based Jobs Rose by 1,400 from August

Published on Thursday, October 19, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses added 1,400 jobs in September as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6 percent. Over the year, jobs were down 3,500 from September 2022 and the unemployment rate was down eight-tenths of a percentage point. Through September, Rhode Island has recovered 96,600 or 89.2 percent of the 108,300 jobs lost during the Covid-19 shutdown.


Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The September unemployment rate was 2.6 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the August rate of 2.7 percent. Last year the rate was 3.4 percent in September.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September, unchanged from August. The U.S. rate was 3.5 percent in September 2022.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 14,900, down 300 from August. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 4,400 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 557,000, up 1,200 over the month and up 7,500 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 571,900 in September, up 900 over the month and up 3,100 from September 2022.

The labor force participation rate was 63.4 percent in September, up from 63.3 in August, and up from 63.2 in September 2022. Nationally, 62.8 percent of US residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 680 in September down from 744 in August. Claims were up an average of 30 a week from September 2022 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of Rhode Island total nonfarm jobs was 495,600 in September, an increase of 1,400 jobs from the revised August jobs figure of 494,200. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are down 3,500 or 0.7 percent.

Nationally, jobs were up 2.1 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island grew by 1,700 in September but is down 4,100 from September 2022.

September Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • The August jobs report was revised up by 800, from a reported loss of 100 jobs from July to a gain of 700 jobs. The Government (+500) sector reported the largest upward revision.
  • Six employment sectors reported monthly job gains in September, eight sectors reported monthly losses, and four sectors remained unchanged.
  • The largest over-the-month gains were reported in the Other Services (+800), Construction (+600), and Health Care & Social Assistance (+600) sectors.
  • Since May, the Health Care & Social Assistance sector has added 3,600 jobs with the bulk of those jobs stemming from the Ambulatory Health Care Services (outpatient services) subsector.
  • Offsetting the job gains in September, was a loss of 400 jobs reported in the Professional & Technical Services sector, followed by a loss of 300 jobs in both the Government and Retail Trade sectors.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In September, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $25.45 per hour, down five cents from August, but up one dollar and seventy cents from September 2022.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.2 hours per week in September, down two-tenths of an hour over the month, and down two and nine-tenths hours from a year ago.

* The average 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 October 2023 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 16, 2023.