Jobs grow as R.I. jobless rate falls from year ago

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE for Rhode Island stood at 3.6% in August, a decline from 3.9% a year earlier, but an increase of joblessness of one-tenth of a percentage point from July. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE for Rhode Island stood at 3.6% in August, a decline from 3.9% a year earlier, but an increase of joblessness of one-tenth of a percentage point from July. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND TRAINING

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate saw a month-over-month increase in August, rising to 3.6% after hitting 3.5% in July, according to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training on Thursday. In August 2018, the jobless rate was 3.9%.

The August unemployment rate remained below the national jobless rate of 3.7% in August.

The state’s labor force declined by 1,300 year over year, totaling 554,400 in August. The number represented an increase of 1,300 from July but a decline of the same number from August 2018, when it stood at 555,700.

Unemployed Rhode Islanders numbered 19,800, a decrease of 2,000 over the year, while 534,600 state residents were employed in August, an increase from 534,000 one year prior.

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A total of 9,104 filed for unemployment insurance benefits in August, a decrease from the 9,574 filed the previous year.

Nonfarm payrolls rose to 504,200 by the end of August, continuing increases reported since January. Job growth has averaged 800 per month this year, with the state adding 7,400 over the year.

Job activity by sector (ordered by size of year-over-year change):

  • The health care and social assistance sector employed 84,600 in August, an increase of 3,700 jobs year over year
  • Transportation and utilities added 1,700 jobs over the year to 13,800
  • Educational services added 1,500 jobs from August 2018 for a total of 27,100
  • Financial activities added 1,000 jobs year over year to 36,300
  • Government employees totaled 61,500, a year-over-year increase of 900
  • Construction and wholesale trade each added 700 jobs over the year, to 19,800 and 17,200, respectively
  • Other services added 400 jobs, bringing the total to 23,600
  • The accommodation and food services sector employed 50,100 in August for an increase of 200 jobs from the prior year
  • Information and mining and logging were both unchanged over the year, for totals of 6,000 and 200
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation employed 9,200 in August, decreasing by 400 jobs.
  • The retail trade sector employed 48,100 in August, a decrease of 700 year over year
  • The professional and business services sector employed 67,800 in August, showing a decrease of 1,000 jobs from last year.
  • Manufacturing lost 1,300 jobs over the year, leaving 38,900 employed in August 2019

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. She can be reached at Graham@PBN.com.

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