Rhode Island-Based Jobs up 4,200 from March; April Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.7 Percent.

CRANSTON, R.I. – The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.7 percent, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from the April 2018 rate of 4.1 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in April 2019, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down three-tenths of a percentage point over the year.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 20,400, down 800 from March. Over the year, the number of unemployed decreased by 2,500.

A total of 11,441 individuals filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in April 2019,*an increase of 527 from the 10,914 filed a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 70.2 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 532,600, down 300 from March. Over the year, the number of employed Rhode Island residents was unchanged from April 2018 (532,600).

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 553,000 in April 2019, down 1,100 from March 2019, and down 2,600 from April 2018 (554,100).

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

Nonfarm payrolls in Rhode Island jumped to 500,300 in April, an increase of 4,200 jobs from the March revised payroll estimate of 496,100. April marks two consecutive months of job gains totaling 5,100 jobs. Revised estimates indicate that the last job decline reported in Rhode Island was in January when 2,500 jobs were slashed from the economy. The number of jobs is up 5,000 from April 2018.

The Professional & Business Services sector added 1,600 jobs in April, recouping all of the 1,100 jobs lost in March. Most of the job growth can be attributed to the Administrative & Waste industry sector, as payrolls rose significantly among landscaping companies. Over the year, Professional & Business Services employment is down 400.

Sizable job gains in April were also noted in Health Care & Social Assistance, as the number of jobs grew by 800. Growth within this sector came via the ambulatory health care services and hospitals subsectors. Health Care & Social Assistance has reported three consecutive months of job gains totaling 1,600 jobs and is up 1,900 jobs from a year ago.

Payrolls in the Accommodations & Food Services sector increased by 700 in April, as employment increases were found among caterers, full-service restaurants and drinking establishments. The number of jobs in Accommodation & Food Services is up 100 from April 2018.

The Financial Activities sector added 400 jobs in April. Over the year, the number of jobs in Financial Activities is up 700.
Jobs in the Educational Services and Retail Trade sectors were each up 300 in April, while jobs in Wholesale Trade grew by 200. All three sectors reported growth over the year, led by Educational Services (+700), followed by Wholesale Trade (+400) and Retail Trade (+100).

Three sectors reported an increase of 100 jobs in April; Government, Construction and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation. Over the year, job numbers are up in Government (+800) and Construction (+700), while being down in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-600).

Manufacturing lost 400 jobs in April, all of which were among the durable goods manufacturing component. Manufacturing employment is down 1,100 from a year ago.

Payrolls in the Information, Mining & Logging, Other Services and Transportation & Utilities sectors remained unchanged from March.

Manufacturing
In April 2019, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $19.43 per hour, down twenty-four cents from March 2019, but up forty cents from April 2018.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.4 hours per week in April, up eight-tenths of an hour over the month, but down three and two-tenths hours from a year ago.

*Refers to the number of new and reopened claims filed by UI beneficiaries and claims filed by those already collecting UI in the week that includes the 12th of the month.

Methodology: The unemployment figures are based largely on a survey of households in Rhode Island and measure the unemployment status of people who live in the state. Unemployment rates prior to 1976 are not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today’s methods. The establishment of employment figures is derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measures the number of jobs in the state. Rhode Island labor market information is available at www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi. Additional information on procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states’ April labor force data and job counts on May 17, 2019. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the May 2019 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

About DLT: The Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the website at www.dlt.ri.gov.

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About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.