The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in September, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The September rate was down six-tenths of a percentage point from the August rate of 5.8 percent. Last year the rate was 10.9 percent in September.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in September, down four-tenths of a percentage point from August. The U.S. rate was 7.8 percent in September 2020.
The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 30,100, down 800 from August. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 30,600 over the year. Since February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic-related shutdowns, the number of unemployed RI residents is up 7,900.
Rhode Island-Based Jobs
Total nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island rose to 480,300 in September, an increase of 2,000 jobs from the revised August job count of 478,300. The Ocean State’s economy has reported nine consecutive months of job gains totaling 22,500 jobs, or an average of 2,500 jobs per month.
The number of jobs in the Government sector rose by 3,400 in September as educational services within the local government branch reported strong job growth.
Employment in Professional & Business Services grew by 600 in September, led by gains among the Professional & Technical Services subsector.
The Wholesale Trade sector reported a gain of 300 jobs in September, followed by smaller gains of 200 jobs in the Manufacturing sector and a gain of 100 jobs in the Retail Trade sector.
The Accommodation & Food Services, Educational Services, Information, Transportation & Utilities and Mining & Logging, sectors all reported no job change over the month.
A large loss of 1,700 jobs was reported in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector as several seasonal jobs were cut from payrolls in September. This marks the first job loss in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation since April 2021.
The Health Care & Social Assistance sector shed 400 jobs from August, mainly due to declines reported among social assistance employees. This too marks the first job decline in Health Care & Social Assistance since April 2021.
In addition, a loss of 300 jobs was noted in Financial Activities, followed by a loss of 100 jobs in both the Construction and Other Services sectors. The Financial Activities sector has not reported a positive job gain since April 2021.
Due to the unprecedented pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions implemented in April 2020, the number of jobs in Rhode Island plunged to 399,200. Gradually, restrictions started to ease, and the economy began a slow upward trend. Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 17,700, led by the Accommodation & Food Services (+4,100) sector. Government employment is up 3,600 jobs since September 2020, followed by the Manufacturing (+2,600), Construction (+2,000), Wholesale Trade (+1,300), Retail Trade (+1,200) and Health Care & Social Assistance (+1,100) sectors.
Smaller annual job gains were noted in the Transportation & Utilities (+600), Educational Services (+500), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (+500), and Other Services (+400) sectors.
Employment in Financial Activities and Professional & Business Services are both down 100 from a year ago.
To help prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus, many industries in the state were ordered to close or operate with restrictions in March and April of 2020, resulting in the loss of 108,000 jobs. Through September 2021, the state’s economy has recovered 81,100 or 75 percent of the jobs lost during the shutdown. Four employment sectors, Government, Construction, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade have recovered all the jobs lost during the economic shutdown.
The Transportation & Utilities sector has regained 89 percent of the jobs it lost during the restriction period, followed by the Retail Trade (83%), Accommodation & Food Services (77%), Health Care & Social Assistance (67%), Professional & Business Services (65%), Other Services (64%) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (56%) sectors.
The Financial Activities sector has recovered 16 percent of the jobs it lost during the pandemic shutdown, while the Information sector has recovered 13 percent and the Educational Services sector has regained 9 percent.
Manufacturing Hours and Earnings
In September, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $22.44 per hour, down twenty-five cents from August, but up one dollar and ninety-eight cents from September 2020.
Manufacturing employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in September, down one-tenth of an hour over the month, but up one and a half hours from a year ago.
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