Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.3 percent in April; Jobs up 700

PROVIDENCE, RI – The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2014 dropped to 8.3 percent, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the March 2014 rate and down one and two-tenths of a percentage point from the April 2013 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since August 2008. The unemployment rate is down one percentage point since the beginning of the year.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in April 2014, down four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down one and two-tenths percentage points over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 46,200, down 2,300 from the March figure of 48,500. This represents the ninth consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since July 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 6,600.

The number of employed RI residents was up 3,600 over the March figure, increasing to 509,500 in April. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 3,900 from April 2013.

The RI labor force totaled 555,800 in April 2014, up 1,400 from March 2014 but down 2,700 from April 2013.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 476,000 in April, reflecting a gain of 700 jobs from the revised March employment estimate of 475,300. After shedding employment in March, the April rebound marks three out of four months of job gains throughout the year, totaling 4,800 jobs.

The 17,300 jobs reported in the Construction sector in April represent the sector’s largest employment level since May 2009 and 900 more jobs than reported in March.

A gain of 700 jobs was reported in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector as payroll gains were noted in all subsectors. Large gains were also reported in the Retail Trade sector which added 500 jobs in April. Clothing stores, building material stores and convenience stores all added to their March employment levels.

Elsewhere, Government employment was up 300, followed by Financial Activities and Information, each adding 100 jobs. Employment in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Mining and Logging remained unchanged over the month.

Offsetting the April job gains was a loss of 800 jobs reported in the Professional & Business Services sector. The downfall may be attributed to a lack of hiring which normally occurs during this time of year. Typically, landscaping and tree service companies increase their payrolls in early spring, which may have been interrupted by the amount of precipitation and unseasonably cooler temperatures in April. In addition, the number of jobs added in Employment Services which includes the Temporary Help Services failed to meet prior years’ totals.

Employment in the Accommodation & Food Services sector, which also may have been impacted by the weather, experienced a decline of 300 jobs since March. Smaller job losses were reported in the Educational Services (-200), Wholesale Trade (-200), Other Services (-200), Manufacturing (-100) and Transportation & Utilities (-100) sectors.
Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 6,700, as job gains appeared in ten economic sectors, including Construction (+1,300), Professional & Business Services (+1,200), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+1,200), Educational Services (+1,100), Retail Trade (+700), Accommodation & Food Services (+600), Manufacturing (+400), Health Care & Social Assistance (+300), Other Services (+300) and Transportation & Utilities (+100).
Employment in four sectors; Wholesale Trade         (-200), Information (-100), Government (-100) and Financial Activities (-100) were slightly down over the year. Employment in Mining & Logging remained unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In April 2014, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.55 per hour, down 6 cents from March 2014 and down 35 cents from April 2013. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.7 hours per week in April, up seven-tenths of an hour over the month and up one hour from a year ago.

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 as official since the methodology used at that time is not comparable to today’s methods. The establishment employment figures are derived from a survey of businesses in Rhode Island and measure 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 CES estimates is available on the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The May labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 2:00 P.M.

ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity 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 on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.

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Avatar 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.

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