| March Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.3 Percent;
Rhode Island-Based Jobs down 700 from February (pdf)
April 20, 2017
The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2017 was 4.3 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the February rate. Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and one-tenth percentage points from the March 2016 rate of 5.4 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2001.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in March 2017, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and down half of a percentage point over the year.
The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment—was 23,900, down 1,200 from the February figure of 25,100. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 5,900.
A total of 13,010 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in March 2017,* up from 12,887 a year ago. This month, UI claimants accounted for 50.4 percent of the total unemployed.
The number of employed RI residents was 530,100, up 2,800 from the February figure of 527,300. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 7,600 from March 2016.
The RI labor force totaled 554,000 in March 2017, up 1,700 from February 2017 and up 1,700 from March 2016.
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND: Estimated nonfarm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 494,600 in March, reflecting a loss of 700 jobs from the revised February estimate of 495,300. The March job decline brought an end to two consecutive months of strong job gains. January payrolls rose by 1,700, while February payrolls grew by 2,300. Rhode Island ended the first quarter of the year with a total of 3,300 additional jobs, or an average of 1,100 jobs per month. In comparison, the first quarter in 2016 ended with a total of 2,000 additional jobs, or an average of 700 jobs per month.
In all, Rhode Island nonfarm employment is up 4,000 from a year ago.
Employment in Professional & Business Services fell by 600 in March, as job declines were reported in the Professional & Technical Services and Administrative & Waste Services sub-sectors. Over the year, the number of jobs in Professional & Business Services is up 900.
Accommodation & Food Services lost 500 jobs in March, followed by a loss of 300 jobs in Financial Activities. Employment in Accommodation & Food Services is up 200 from March 2016, while the number of jobs in Financial Activities is down 600 from a year ago.
Smaller losses of 100 jobs each were reported in seven employment sectors. Those sectors are Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Construction, Government, Health Care & Social Assistance, Mining & Logging, Retail Trade and Transportation & Utilities. Among these sectors, the Construction (+1,500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+900), Health Care & Social Assistance (+900), Government (+200) and Retail Trade (+100) sectors all added jobs from March 2016, while employment in the Mining & Logging and Transportation & Utilities sectors remained unchanged over the year.
After shedding 400 jobs in January and 500 jobs in February, the Educational Services sector recouped those losses by adding 900 jobs in March. The number of jobs within this sector is up 200 from a year ago.
MANUFACTURING: In March 2017, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $18.95 per hour, up thirty-five cents from February 2017 and up eighty cents from March 2016.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.4 hours per week in March, up three-tenths of an hour over the month and up an hour and two-tenths 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 of employment figures is 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 website at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states’ March labor force data and job counts on April 21, 2017. DLT is scheduled to release the April 2017 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.
About the RI Department of Labor and Training: The RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT) 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. DLT’s Business Workforce Center simplifies doing business in RI by coordinating job fairs, pre-screening applicants, and connecting employers with innovative methods to remain or become competitive.