The RI Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2015 dropped to 5.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the October 2015 rate of 5.3 percent.
Over the year, the unemployment rate is down one and seven-tenths percentage points from the November 2014 rate. This is the lowest unemployment rate since July 2007. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in November 2015, unchanged from the previous month and down eight-tenths of a percentage point over the year. The number of unemployed RI residents—those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment— was 28,700, down 700 from the October figure of 29,400. This represents the lowest unemployment level since June 2007. Over the year, the number of unemployed dropped by 9,200. A total of 8,093 individuals collected Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in November 2015, down from 10,127 a year ago.
This month, UI claimants accounted for 29.7 percent of the total unemployed. The number of employed RI residents was 526,900, down 800 from the October figure of 527,700. Over the year, the number of employed RI residents was up 15,100 from November 2014. The RI labor force totaled 555,600 in November 2015, down 1,500 from October 2015 but up 5,900 from November 2014.
JOBS BASED IN RHODE ISLAND
Estimated non-farm payroll in Rhode Island totaled 486,700 in November, reflecting a gain of 2,200 jobs from the revised October estimate of 484,500. Over the past three months, Rhode Island averaged a gain of 900 jobs and has added 8,000 jobs over the year. Since the start of the year, jobs are up 7,400. Through November 2015, job growth has averaged 700 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 500 jobs during the same period in 2014. November’s nonfarm job count marks the highest job count since February 2008. The number of jobs in the Other Services sector rose by 600 in November, the first job increase within this sector since May. Over the year, Other Services employment is up 1,200. The Wholesale Trade sector added 400 jobs in November recouping more than half of the 700 jobs lost in October. Jobs in this sector are down 600 jobs from a year ago. The Accommodation & Food Services sector also added 400 jobs in November, marking three consecutive months of job gains totaling 1,900. Over the past year, Accommodation & Food Services employment has grown by 2,300.
In anticipation of holiday deliveries, Transportation & Utilities employment grew by 300 in November and has risen by 300 over the year. For the first time in 2015, the Health Care & Social Assistance sector added jobs in two consecutive months, adding 200 jobs in October and 200 jobs in November. Despite these gains, employment in the Health Care & Social Assistance sector is down 300 over the year. Professional & Business Services and Retail Trade also added 200 jobs each in November. The Professional & Business Services added 3,600 jobs since the start of the year, and is up 3,500 jobs since November 2014.
Employment in Retail Trade is down 100 from a year ago. A gain of 100 jobs was reported in the Construction, Educational Services and Information sectors, while employment in Manufacturing, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Mining & Logging remained unchanged. Over the year, employment in Educational Services, Manufacturing, and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation was up by 1,700; 900 and 800 respectively while employment in the Construction and Information sectors reported respective losses of 1,100 and 200. Employment in Financial Activities and Government fell by 200 each in November. Financial Activities employment is up 200 over the year, while Government employment is down 600 over the year.
In November 2015, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $17.81 per hour, up 23 cents from October 2015 but down 41 cents from November 2014. Manufacturing production employees worked an average of 38.2 hours per week in November, down four-tenths of an hour from October and down an hour and four-tenths over the year.
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 web site at www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm. BLS will be releasing all states’ November labor force data and job counts on December 18, 2015. DLT is scheduled to release the December 2015 labor force figures and job counts on Thursday, January 21, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.