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 non-farm 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.
Wholesale Trade added 300 jobs in March and is up 500 jobs over the year. The Manufacturing sector added 200 jobs over the month. Overall, Manufacturing employment is down 500 from this time a year ago.
The number of jobs in the Information sector remained unchanged from March, but was down 300 jobs over the year. The Other Services sector also reported no change in its monthly employment, as well as no change in the number of jobs from a year ago.
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.
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