Unemployment Rate Remains at 7.7 percent in August 2014 – Jobs up 100 from July

PROVIDENCE, RI – The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2014 remained at 7.7 percent, unchanged from the July 2014 rate and down one and nine-tenths percentage points from the August 2013 rate. Along with last month, this is the lowest unemployment rate since July 2008. The unemployment rate is down one and six-tenths percentage points since the beginning of the year.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in August 2014, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down one and one-tenth percentage points over the year.

The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment— was 42,600, down 500 from the July figure of 43,100. This represents the 13th consecutive over-the-month decrease and the lowest unemployment level since May 2008. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 10,500.

A total of 12,086 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in August 2014,* down from 13,583 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 27.7 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of employed RI residents was 513,900, down 1,500 from the July figure of 515,400. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 12,600 from August 2013.

The RI labor force totaled 556,500 in August 2014, down 2,000 from July 2014 and up 2,100 from August 2013.

JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 477,900 in August, reflecting a gain of 100 jobs from the July employment estimate of 477,800. The August employment level represents the highest employment level since September 2008 (478,600).

The Health Care and Social Assistance sector added 800 jobs since July, as large job gains were reported in ambulatory health care services and hospitals.

Full-service restaurants were the catalyst behind the 500 jobs that were added within the Accommodation and Food
Services sector in August.

The Construction, Transportation & Utilities, Other Services and Government sectors each added 100 jobs, while employment remained unchanged within the Information, Financial Activities, Educational Services and Mining and Logging sectors.

Offsetting the August employment gains was a loss of 900 jobs reported in the Professional and Business Services sector as large payroll declines were counted among those who perform services to buildings and dwellings as well as those who perform remediation services.

Smaller job losses were reported in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (-300), Retail Trade (-200), Manufacturing
(-100) and Wholesale Trade (-100).


Over the year, total nonfarm employment increased by 5,700, as job gains appeared in nine economic sectors, including Professional and Business Services (+2,500), Financial Activities (+1,000), Construction (+700), Retail Trade (+700), Manufacturing (+600), Accommodation & Food Services (+500), Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (+400), Health Care and Social Assistance (+400) and Transportation and Utilities (+200).

Employment in four sectors — Educational Services (-500), Other Services (-300), Information (-300) and Wholesale Trade (-200)
— was down over the year. Employment in Government and Mining and Logging remained unchanged.

MANUFACTURING: In August 2014, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.13 per hour, down 43 cents from
July 2014 and down 89 cents from August 2013. Manufacturing production employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in August, down nine-tenths of an hour over the month and down two-tenths of an 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 Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates is available on
the BLS web site at http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. The September 2014 labor force figures are scheduled to be released on Thursday, October 16, 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, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.

*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.


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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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