Oct. joblessness steady, in-state jobs rise, labor force shrinks

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held fairly steady this fall, although fewer Rhode Islanders were employed as the size of the labor force continued to shrink. More

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Oct. joblessness steady, in-state jobs rise, labor force shrinks

COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING
RHODE ISLAND'S UNEMPLOYMENT rate rose to 9.2 percent in September and October, one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the rate measured in August, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training reported Thursday.
Posted 11/21/13

CRANSTON – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held fairly steady this fall, although fewer Rhode Islanders were employed as the size of the labor force continued to shrink. That said, the number of jobs in the Ocean State rose by 3,500 in three months, to the highest level since December 2008, according to a report released Thursday by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The recent government shutdown delayed the availability of September unemployment data until this month, the department said, accounting for the simultaneous release of September and October data.

The unemployment rate for September and October edged up slightly from August, but was almost 1 percent less than than October of last year, the DLT found.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in September and October, one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the rate measured in August, but nine-tenths of a percentage point less than the rate in October 2012.

The U.S. unemployment rate was less than Rhode Island’s – 7. 3 percent in October, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down six-tenths of a percentage point year over year.

While the number of unemployed Rhode Islanders rose to 50,500 in September from 50,000 in August, it dropped slightly in October to 50,400, and year over year, from October 2012 to October 2013, it fell by 6,400.

At the same time, the number of employed Rhode Islanders dropped by 1,300 from August to September and an additional 600 from September to October. Year over year, the number of employed residents dropped by 5,400.

The state’s labor force shrank as well, to 550,700, which represents declines of 700 from September, 1,500 from August and 11,700 from October 2012, DLT reported. Over the year, the greatest reduction came from workers aged 16 to 24, according to the monthly household survey.

Despite the mixed results, the number of Rhode Island-based jobs reached 469,600 – its highest level since December 2008. In September and October, the number of jobs here increased monthly by 1,100 and 800, respectively. That means Rhode Island has experienced three consecutive months of employment gains since August, totaling 3,500 jobs, the DLT said.

The DLT reported 5,500 more nonfarm jobs overall over the past year, with gains in nine economic sectors, including the professional and business services sector, which gained the most jobs in September, 900, and accommodations and food services companies, which gained the most in October, 800. Employment levels outperformed seasonal expectations in hospitality, the DLT said.

The construction sector gained 300 jobs in September and 400 in October, bringing a three-month total increase to 1,000 jobs.

Monthly job losses were reflected in 800 fewer jobs in the retail trades and 600 less in the financial sector.

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